TIFTON — The Tift County Lady Devils will be looking to rebound this week after a doubleheader loss to Camden County.
The Lady Devils have a short week — only two games scheduled — but a very tough one.
Tift will be facing perhaps the hottest team in the state Thursday. The Lady Packers are not just undefeated at 11-0, but are considered the 10th best team in the nation by MaxPreps. They are a program that head coach Taylor Barber knows well. He assisted Colquitt last year and counts its head coach, Chance Pitts, as a close friend.
“They’re very, very dangerous,” Barber said. “They have a lot of confidence.” Adding to that confidence was a recent series with Lowndes. Like Tift, Colquitt had not beaten the Vikettes in four years. When the dust settled, Colquitt had wins of 4-1 and 7-4. “I don’t know if they’ve ever been as good as they are now,” he said.
Colquitt currently has the region lead at 3-0. Camden is second at 2-1, with Tift and Lowndes both sporting 1-3 records. Hanging in the balance is a makeup date against Camden. The two played one shortened game Aug. 22, but never made the field for the second one because of bad weather. The game is scheduled for Moultrie, making for quite a long bus ride.
The Lady Devils met their match in Camden, falling 7-2 and 5-1.
Barber prefaced his recap of the games with high praise for Niambi Battle, who had several big moments.
There was no score in the first game when Battle stood at-bat in the second inning with runners on. “Nini comes up and gets a big two-RBI double,” he said.
Camden scored three times in the third frame and twice in the fourth to take command.
“We got away from our approach,” Barber said.
The second contest was closer, with neither team scoring until the fifth. Senior Abi Sumner was in the circle and kept Camden at bay.
Barber described the pitching performance as the “best I’ve seen Abi pitch yet.” He said he challenged her before the game. “I told her to attack the strike zone. No freebies. That’s what she did.”
Madison Smith earned three walks at the plate. Battle came through again in the nightcap with an RBI hit.