KINGSLAND - Strike up the band. Tift County softball is rolling. The Lady Devils swept Camden County Thursday night, collecting a grand total of 28 hits in 5-2 and 9-2 wins.
"Everybody today had a hit," said head coach Taylor Barber, talking as the bus was somewhere near Waycross on the long journey back home. "I was very, very proud of them."
Paige Hill pitched two complete games. Josie Bullington went 6-for-8 in the doubleheader and Morgen Ray went 5-for-6.
It was a good night all around for the Lady Devils. Beyond pounding Camden, it marked the first time Tift swept a conference doubleheader since Region 1 went to them in 2016. The Lady Devils are now up to nine wins, the most since the 2015 squad won 18.
If there was any negative news at all, the team's home run streak did not survive the trip. Going into Thursday, Tift had hit homers in seven consecutive games.
The contests were mostly close. Tift needed an extra inning to put Camden away in the opener. They held a 3-2 lead in the nightcap, pulling away with a six-run sixth.
"They finally found that way to blow it open," said Barber.
All the runs in the frame came with two outs.
Ray and Camden Anders singled with one out and Ray moved to third on a fly to right. Hill delivered a double to center to drive in both, opening the floodgates. Macy Hand singled and Bailee Williams doubled.
Up 6-1, Bullington singled in Hand, then Wood tripled in Williams and Bullington.
Bullington doubled in Williams in the first. A good read by Loralee Bennett in the second gave Tift its second run on an infield groundout by Madison Smith. Camden scored in the third before an error plated Hand in the fifth.
Barber said Hill struggled a bit in the first game, but not in this one. "She turned it up," he said.
In the opener, fourth inning singles led to Tift's first run, Gracee Wood driving in Williams. Bennett crossed in the sixth on a Ray single.
The bottom half of the inning, "We got ourselves in a bit of a bind." Two runs scored, sending the game to extras.
In the eighth, Ray came through with a double to drive in Bullington, then Camden Anders delivered a single to drive in Wood and Ray. Hill set down Camden in order in the bottom of the eighth to secure the win.
The Lady Devils had big plays on defense as well. A highlight in that department involved third baseman Bennett.
Runners were at first and second with one out when Camden hit a hard shot to Bennett. "She booted this one - I think she kicked it with her left foot or bounced off her glove going to her left - it rolled right over to Gracee at short and Gracee popped up and put it on the money to get the girl at third."
Tift hosts Thomas County Central Tuesday and is scheduled to host Colquitt County next Thursday in their last region doubleheader.