(Lagrange, GA) — The Lady Braves jumped out to the hottest start possible at this weekend’s Callaway Classic softball tournament held at the Shuford Fields Complex in Lagrange.
Head coach Matt Hornsby was more than pleased with the way his girls competed as they not only won the two day tournament but did so in the most dominating fashion.
The Lady Braves finished the tournament with a 5-0 record and outscored their opponents by an unfathomable combined score of 54-0.
Junior Jordan Watson picked up right where she left off a year ago tossing 18 innings while allowing only eight hits, two walks, and striking out 34.
The team won all five of its games by the mercy rule including 15-0 shutouts of Manchester and Lagrange, a 9-0 win over Landmark Christian, an 8-0 win over Hardaway, and a 7-0 victory over Northside (Columbus) in the championship game. The tourney featured 10 teams competing in two pools.
“Our pitchers did awesome this weekend,” Hornsby said. “All three of them had runners at second or third at some point and between them and our defense we just didn’t back down.”
Watson continued to shine not just on the mound but also at the plate where she was 8 for 13 with a home run and eight RBI’s.
Cali Harrod also performed well as usual going 11 for 17 with eight runs scored and seven stolen bases. Anna Shelnutt was 8 for 16 with three doubles and three RBI’s.
One of the surprises of the weekend was the solid play of some of the younger Lady Braves including sophomore Alyssa Cosper who batted in the number two hole after an injury last week forced Madison Whitehead out of the starting line-up.
“With Madison being out we had to slide Alyssa Cosper up to the number two hole and she really stepped up,” said Hornsby. “Another one of our newcomers, Hannah Sanders, also came ready to play and helped us a lot.”
Cosper batted .467 for the weekend with eight runs scored and nine RBI’s. Sanders belted a 3-run homer versus the Grangers, the first of her varsity career Saturday morning and she also drove in eight runs.
Sarah Schofield also had a great tournament at the plate batting .857 with five runs scored.
The team will travel a bit farther next week for another big tournament in Allatoona, GA which will feature some very strong competition from much bigger schools.
“The tournament next weekend is going to let us know early on rather than later if we have made the strides we hope we have — and then to get better from there,” Hornsby said.
“We face Kennesaw Mountain and I mean they are strong every single year in AAAAAA — it is going to be tough playing them at their place. It is one of those tournaments as a high school coach that you hope you get the chance to have a team that you can compete in one of those kind of tournaments.”
Hornsby is taking his girls to the big tournament in hopes of preparing them early on for the talent they will see later in the state playoffs. The Lady Braves have finished third in Class AA the past two seasons.
“I told the girls the other day that we didn’t make the schedule we did this year because we have a bunch of talent. You could have talent and a bunch of weak-minded girls and we would not be going to Allatoona this weekend. It is because we have girls that are talented and tough and refuse to back down that we are entering this tournament.”
The Lady Braves travel to Columbus Monday and then to Central-Carrollton on Wednesday prior to the Allatoona tournament. The game at Columbus is a make-up from a rain out of last week’s season opener.