After Augusta State's doubleheader sweep of Paine College in softball Tuesday, players from both teams formed a circle around the pitching mound, held hands and prayed.
Following the Lady Jaguars' 19-0 and 14-0 wins, the supposed rivalry between the cross-town schools was nowhere to be found.
"We don't feel it's a strong rivalry like basketball," fourth-year Paine coach Darrell Pickett. "Coach (Melissa) Mullins, she pretty much tries to control the game. She could've really run the score up even more, but she really understands that we're struggling and trying to get there."
Pickett, whose team has no scholarship players, was right. It could have been worse. Much worse.
After all, Augusta State (27-10) is 10-0 all-time against the Lady Lions and has allowed just six runs in those 10 games.
But Mullins applied the brakes after the Lady Jaguars scored seven runs in the first inning of Game One. In the midst of Augusta State's 12-run second inning, Mullins held her runners at third on wild pitches and on potential fielding errors.
"My intent as a coach is to not allow my players to develop any bad habits like swinging at bad pitches, getting out on purpose, striking out on purpose and also not to run up the score," Mullins said. "I totally believe in winning games, but not beating people down and beating down their confidence."
Paine nearly snapped an 18-inning scoreless streak against the Lady Jaguars in the fifth inning. Del Richardson ended Heather Kershaw's (5-3) perfect game with a leadoff single. Arin Freeman followed with a double to left. Richardson tried to score on the play but was gunned down at the plate.
In Game Two, Jenni Brush (7-3) and Erin Cown combined for a five-inning perfect game. The pair was backed by a 17-hit performance, led by Stephanie Miller's four hits.
Reach Chris Gay at (706) 868-1222, Ext. 114.
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