Published Thursday, October 04, 2012
By DOUG GORMAN
East Coweta’s softball team is in the driver’s seat heading into the final day of the Region 3-AAAAAA softball tournament.
And the Lady Indians can thank senior pitcher Megan Chocallo for setting the table for a potential championship in their own backyard.
Chocallo took a perfect game into the seventh inning, retired the first 19 batters she faced, struck out 11 and helped lead her team to a 2-0 victory over rival Newnan with a one hitter to stay unbeaten and in the winner’s bracket.
“What a phenomenal job she did,” said East Coweta head coach Franklin Deloach said. “I am very proud of her. She faced the minimum until the second batter in the seventh.”
Shania Colton broke up the perfect game when she delivered a sharp single with one out in the top of the seventh.
Tournament-host East Coweta regrouped and got the next two batters out, including a strikeout by Chocallo to end the game.
For Deloach, it was also a milestone victory as the veteran softball coach earned his 300th win. The tenure has included a short stint at Creekside High School back in the late 1990s.
“I have been very blessed, but it’s all about the kids,” he said.
(To view photos from this game, please visit http://photos.times-herald.com/mycapture and click on Sports / Softball for the Photo Gallery.)
Chances are the two teams are going to meet again tonight to decided who takes home the top spot in the region.
After suffering its first loss of the double-elimination tournament, Newnan drops to the loser’s bracket where it will face Douglas County in today’s first game at 4:30. The winner will then turn around and then play East Coweta.
It will be the second meeting between Newnan and Douglas County. The Lady Cougars rolled past Douglas County 23-3 on Tuesday.
Should East Coweta lose the second game of the tournament, a third game would follow immediately to decide the 3-AAAAAA title.
Chocallo had a least one strikeout in every inning to help keep the Lady Cougars off the bases. Newnan Arden Jobe hit the only ball of the game out of the infield in the first inning but Mekhia Freeman made a running catch for the third out of the inning.
East Coweta broke on top with two runs in the bottom of the first.
“We were able scratch out something and get on base early and that really helped,” Deloach said.
East Coweta's Kia Smith led off the bottom of the first with a single and scored on Shemiah Sanchez’s one-out double. Sarah Colwell then delivered her RBI single for the 2-0 lead.
The contest became a pitching duel the rest of the way between Chocallo and Newnan’s Tori Loveless.
After the first inning, Loveless also settled down and helped keep the bases empty of Lady Indians.
The sophomore gave up just four hits, striking out two.
“(Loveless) has made tremendous improvements,” Newnan head coach Carrie Gilmore said. “She has really got to where she can hold us in a game.”
Newnan walked off the field Wednesday with hopes of still winning the region title.
“We told them you need to win two before you lose two,” she said. “First we have to take care of Douglas County. They have been talking about how much they want to beat East Coweta, and win the region title, they just have to show it a little more.”
East Coweta has won both of its meetings with Newnan this season by a score of 2-0, but Deloach says his message to the team was it’s not over yet.
“We are happy to be in the spot that we are in, but make no mistake, there is still a lot of work to be done,” Deloach said.
Douglas County knocked off Westlake 13-4 earlier in the day. With the loss, Westlake will move to the state tournament as the No. 4 seed.
The top two seeds will be home to host a best-of-three series next week to open the state tournament.
“We are very glad we are in the state tournament, but we always want to do better,” Gilmore said.
In today’s region tournament, Deloach doesn’t plan to tinker with his lineup. Chocallo will start on the mound against whoever wins between Newnan and Douglas County.
“We are going to stick with Megan,” he said “We feel like if we can get her a lead, she is going to pitch us to the win.”