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Lions roar into Final Four
Trinity's Savannah McNeely reaches for home after avoiding the tag of Calvary Christian catcher Miranda Santiago during fourth inning of the first game of Friday's doubleheader at Memorial Field. Trinity swept both games to win their playoff series and now advance to the state semifinals. - photo by SCOTT BRYANT/staff

    Only the top eight teams in the Georgia Independent Christian Athletics Association remained in the hunt for a state softball title as Friday dawned.
    Despite just the top schools still in contention, the Trinity Christian School offense wasn’t impressed.
    The Lady Lions pounded out 29 runs in two games against Calvary Christian Friday at Memorial Field. Trinity easily swept the best-of-three quarterfinal series, bringing both games to an early end via mercy rule while notching its fourth trip to the state semifinals in the program’s 12-year history.
    “We’re all very excited,” Trinity coach Keith Kliber said. “Last season, all that we had to play for was a perfect record. This year, we had the playoffs and a championship to work towards and it’s clear that our team is very focused on that goal.”
    The Lions (11-1) led just 3-2 entering the third inning of Friday’s first game, but scored in all but one inning after that to blow away the visiting Knights.
    Two consecutive TCS singles led off the third frame before Elizabeth Carter roped a line drive into the left field corner and circled the bases. Chelsea Taylor added an RBI single in the frame to make it a 7-2 Lions advantage.
    Trinity led 10-3 entering the fifth inning when the Knights finally got to Lions starter Marijke Griffin. Calvary belted out seven consecutive hits to begin the inning and only two long runs and catches from centerfielder Olivia Godfrey spared Trinity with a 10-9 lead.
    Undeterred, the Lions answered back with six runs of their own in the bottom half of the inning.
    Calvary starter Kendall Collins retired the first two batters of the inning before eight consecutive Lions reached base. Carter delivered the big blow with a three-run double and Savannah McNeely tripled home Carter.
    Griffin responded with a shutdown inning and Trinity pushed across one more run in the bottom of the sixth to end the game at 17-9.
    “Sometimes one or two things go wrong and it all snowballs on you,” Kliber said. “That happens to a lot of teams, but that’s not how we respond. Every time we’ve been down this year, there’s always the thought in the dugout that we’ll dig in and bounce back.”
    After its rally in Game 1 fell short, Calvary seemed to run out of gas in the second game of the twin bill.
    Never leaving the mound, Griffin hit an extra gear and completely shut down the Knights in a one-hit, 12-0 shutout win to clinch the series.
    The Lions pushed across three runs in the first for all the cushion they would need. Griffin helped her own cause at the plate with a second inning home run before Trinity scored one more in the fourth and exploded for seven in the fifth inning to force another early ending.
    With the win, the Lions now advance to the state semifinals.
    Trinity will travel to Stockbridge May 1 and will duke it out with the other three semifinalists in a double-elimination tournament to determine the state champion.

    Mike Anthony may be reached at (912) 489-9404.