Chamblee continues record season with Sweet 16 sweep of Coffee

The Chamblee High School Bulldogs made program history Oct. 19 by advancing to the girls’ fast-pitch softball high school state playoffs Elite 8 with a 16-3, 10-2 sweep of the Coffee Trojans in a Class 5A second round series at Chamblee. 

Coffee (15-15) got out in front in the first game with a leadoff walk to Hannah Capps, who would steal second and end up scoring on a wild pitch to make it a 1-0 lead. The Coffee lead would hold until the bottom of the second. 

The first six Bulldog batters each struck for a run to put Chamblee up 6-1 in the second. Parker Smith’s slap toward first base tied the game at 1-1, and Smith would reach home as the first baseman attempted to throw home to get the runner. 

Rachel Axelson hit a double down the right field line with the bases loaded to score two runs and her sister Margaret Axelson added an RBI double in the six-run outburst. 

Coffee cut the lead in half with back-to-back RBI singles by Jenna Graham and Emily Elisis to cut the deficit to 6-3 in the top of the third. 

Margaret Axelson made an impact by pitching and hitting against Coffee.

The Axelsons teamed up to key a five-run third inning as Rachel Axelson hit into a ground out to score one run and—after a Coffee error—Margaret Axelson hit a line shot that a diving Coffee leftfielder could not get. Margaret Axelson went for a triple and drove in two more runs. Kate Sarago closed out the inning with an RBI single to up the lead to 11-3 heading to the fourth inning. 

Lily McCord set the Trojans down in order in the top of fourth; she finished the game with seven strikeouts and allowed only three hits and one walk in four innings. 

A two-out triple in the bottom of the fourth by Emily Katz, followed by a Coffee error on a ball hit by Samantha Russell, opened the gates to a six-run inning to close out the game by the run-rule. Margaret Axelson hit an RBI single and Sarago drilled a two-run single to center to end the game with a final score of 16-3. 

Leading the best-of-three series 1-0, Chamblee coach Alan Loper turned to senior pitching ace Margaret Axelson who would strike out 11 in a 10-2 win to clinch the series. 

Coffee went to Erin Robinson who struck out three in the first inning and seven overall in 2 2/3 innings before an injury to her leg caused her to leave the game in the third. 

Elisis hit a home run to center to give Coffee another 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. Robinson held Chamblee scoreless until a wild pitch allowed Russell to score from third to tie the game and Robinson went down with the injury that would force her out of the game. 

The score remained 1-1 as Margaret Axelson collected all 11 of her strikeouts in the first four innings. 

Lydia Davis led off the top of the fifth with a double and scored on Margaret Axelson’s ground out with the bases loaded to give Chamblee a 2-1 lead.  

Hanna Hutchinson knotted the game against Margaret Axelson with an RBI single into center with one out in the inning. Chamblee second baseman made two big plays on the next two batters fielding a ground ball at first base and a pop out to keep the game knotted at 2-2 heading into the sixth. 

Parker Smith (2) gave Chamblee its first lead of the series in game one.

Chamblee closed out the game with eight runs in the top of the sixth. McCord got the rally started with an opposite field RBI single. Davis had a bunt single, and Russell followed with a double in the gap in left field to score two runs as the lead was built upon. 

A bases loaded walk to Margaret Axelson and a bases loaded hit by the pitch on Sarago—along with a two-out RBI single by Smith—sent Chamblee into the bottom of the ninth up 10-2. 

Axelson allowed a leadoff hit in the fourth but got three fly balls to end the game and start the celebration of the playoff victory.

Chamblee has doubled their program’s total playoff wins this season, having lost their last six playoff games (three series) to improve to 8-24 overall. Chamblee added two wins to their already record for season wins as the team improved to 29-2 on the year. 

Chamblee advances to the Class 5A State Tournament in Columbus Oct. 28 against the winner of the Eastside/Northside-Columbus series which is going to a third game. Northside won the first game 3-2 and Eastside rebounded with an 11-10 victory to even the series.

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