CHULA — Sarabeth Royal slugged a homer and Tiftarea Academy ran its season record to 16-1 with a 4-1 victory over Southland Academy Thursday.
The game was Senior Night for Tiftarea, with Royal and McKenna McCard as the honorees. Both had major contributions to the win. Royal socked a solo shot in the fourth that broke a 1-1 tie. McCard struck out 15 hitters and allowed no earned runs, a streak that is now 31 1/3 innings long.
Pyper McCard drove in two runs and Mackenzie Matthews knocked in the other. Matthews also scored twice, with Madi Hartsfield providing the other run.
Tiftarea is scheduled to play at Brookwood School today, a game that wraps the regular season. The Georgia Independent School Association playoffs are next and Tiftarea will likely play either Saturday or Monday at home. While the GISA’s rankings have not been released, the Lady Panthers will probably be either the No. 1 or No. 2 seed. Westfield is 17-1, with one game remaining.
Last week, head coach Rob Flick praised both McKenna McCard and Royal for their leadership in his first season. They’ve been standouts on the field as well.
Through Southland, Royal carried a .339 average. Her 18 runs scored lead Tiftarea and she has driven in 10.
McCard was hitting a team-best .490, with 17 runs scored and 15 driven in. Her five home runs is first on the team. In the circle, McCard has allowed one earned run in 73 innings, for a cool ERA of 0.10. She is averaging two strikeouts per frame.