VALDOSTA - Tift County hit three more home runs and handed the Lowndes Vikettes their first region loss of the season Thursday night. Tift won the first game 2-1, with Lowndes taking the second by a 4-1 score.
"We played two ballgames today, that defensively and pitching-wise, was as good as you can ask for," said head coach Taylor Barber. "We played our tails off for two ballgames and we pitched our tails off for two ballgames."
Paige Hill homered twice in the Lowndes doubleheader, one in each game. Josie Bullington hit the other.
Tift had four hits in the first game, but that was all that was required. Hill needed just 80 pitches to throw a complete game.
"We hit it just enough to get it done," he said.
The round-trippers came in consecutive innings. Bullington homered to left in the second and Hill led off the third with a shot to left. Bullington had two hits for the game. Macy Hand and Hill had the others.
Tori Hedgecock halved Tift's lead with a homer in the bottom of the sixth. Hill gave up a hit to the next batter, but shut down the Vikettes the rest of the way.
Hill was all the Lady Devils' offense in the second contest. Her third inning home run was the squad's only baserunner. "We just couldn't get it done in the box," said Barber.
Lowndes' first run of this game was unearned. Hill tied the contest an inning later, then Madison Van Allen's two run homer untied it in the fourth. Hedgecock added a solo shot in the sixth.
After her efficient first game, Hill went back to the circle for the nightcap. She threw 3 1/3 innings before Gracee Wood came in to finish it out.
"Paige was unbelievable, like she always is," said Barber. "I can't speak enough about what Paige is doing right now." He said he's never had any pitcher quite like her - in baseball or softball - that could take the ball every time.
Wood also drew praise for her work in relief, as did Tift's defense for their efforts. "I was beyond pleased with the way Paige and Gracee threw it," he said. "They both gave us a chance in the second game."
Over the course of the two games, Wood and Hill held Lowndes to just 12 hits and one walk. Jolee Camp threw two complete games for the Vikettes.
The win in the opener was the Lady Devils' sixth victory of the season. They can match last season's total of seven with a Senior Night victory Monday over Turner County.
Barber said Senior Night recognition will start around 5:10 p.m. The first pitch is set for 5:30 p.m.