TIFTON -- The Tift County Lady Devils softball team put itself in position to stay near the top of the Region 1-AAAAA standings Thursday night with a 2-0 victory over the Houston County Lady Bears.
Houston came in at 9-1 overall on the year with the only loss being to Lowndes in league play. Tift's only region defeat was also to Lowndes, so Thursday's matchup was for second in the league standings.
The game was 0-0 until the bottom of the sixth. With one out, Tift's Janna Shiver reached on a single. Noticing that no one was covering second base on the play, she advanced to second before the Houston defense reacted. The next batter was Rebecca Johnson, who walked. On ball four, Shiver stole third.
With Krysten Mangham up at the plate, Johnson stole second giving Tift runners at second and third with one out. Shiver then scored when Mangham hit a sacrifice fly to left field.
Johnson would later score when Rachel Segers hit a single to right field.
Shiver, who ended the day with 16 strikeouts, then came on and struck out the side in the seventh inning to gain the pitching win.
"Janna did good," Tift coach Ivey Vickers said of her pitcher. Shiver, who also struck out the side in the first inning, allowed two hits and hit one batter.
Vickers added, "Our entire team played well today. We just kept it close and hoped we could figure out a way to win and that's what we did."
Shiver and Segers each had two hits for the Lady Devils. Mangham and Allie Parrish also each added a single to the Tift cause.
The Lady Devils are now 9-4 on the year, 3-1 in league play.
"This was a big win for us. Houston has a great team and we expect them to be right in the race for the region title," Vickers said.
About the Lady Devils' chances in the league, the Tift coach said, "The coaches and the team are working hard and we just have to keep that up."
Tift will be back at home Tuesday to face Valdosta in another 1-AAAAA game. That contest will begin at 5:45 p.m.
"They are supposed to be much improved," Vickers said of the Lady Wildcats.
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