May 27, 2018

Back-to-Back Region Champs!

The 2015 Region 5-AA Softball Champion Lady Braves (Front L-R): Katie Mixon, Alyssa Cosper, Taylor Storey, Hannah Sanders, Jordan Watson, Madison Whitehead (Back Row L-R): Haley Bennett, Anna Cosper, Ally Harris, Alexis Raines, Harley Parker, Sarah Schofield, Anna Shelnutt, Johanna Beyer, Aspen Barker, Hannah Stephens

The 2015 Region 5-AA Softball Champion Lady Braves (Front L-R): Katie Mixon, Alyssa Cosper, Taylor Storey, Hannah Sanders, Jordan Watson, Madison Whitehead (Back Row L-R): Haley Bennett, Anna Cosper, Ally Harris, Alexis Raines, Harley Parker, Sarah Schofield, Anna Shelnutt, Johanna Beyer, Aspen Barker, Hannah Stephens

(Bremen, GA) — The Lady Braves softball team found a great deal of redemption in Bremen Monday night where they defeated the Lady Blue Devils 9-1 via the run rule in six innings to capture back-to-back Region 5-AA championships.

The win capped off a dominating performance in the region tournament with Lady Braves defeating the top two seeds by a combined total of 24-1, quite a turnaround for Matt Hornby’s squad after going 0-2 during the regular season and losing by a combined score of 15-5 to the same two teams.

Senior Jordan Watson looked as strong as she has in several weeks, throwing a complete game on Monday with six strikeouts and not allowing an earned run during the entire region tournament.

The senior ace and Michigan State commit seems to be regaining her top form after missing the first significant time of her career with a shoulder injury earlier this season.

“It feels a lot better just being back out there,” said Watson after the game. “We are playing as a team and we have become a family. That is so important because we are back on the road to state.”

Watson pitched all six innings Monday night, but she may not have pitched the seventh had the game gone that far.

“The only way she was going to pitch the whole game was if she stayed under her pitch count,” said Hornsby Monday night. “ We were getting close to her limit and she may not have finished it off. She’s hitting her spots a lot better than when she first came back and that is a big key for her.”

Fortunately, even though she forgot her pants, Anna Shelnutt did not forget to bring her scorching hot bat with her to Bremen Monday afternoon.

The senior Florida State University commit had the key blow in the championship tilt, blasting a 3-run homer to right center in the top of the fourth inning to open up a 5-0 lead.

The assist of the day came from Temple High School sophomore Whitney Agan who let Anna borrow her pants for the start of the game.

Shelnutt’s bomb was a school record No. 10 on the season for the star catcher, who also doubled and scored in the sixth inning. She changed the game with her defense as well, throwing out a would be Devil base-stealer to quell a second inning scoring opportunity after a lead-off base hit.

Another senior, left fielder Madison Whitehead, had a nice day at the plate with three RBI’s including a 2-run single that broke the game wide open in the sixth. Interestingly, Whitehead found the bases loaded during all four of her at-bats versus the Blue Devils.

Junior Alyssa Cosper had two hits on the day, including a 2-run double in the sixth inning and a nicely executed sacrifice bunt in the second inning.

The Braves’ first run of the day came on a base hit by senior Alexis Raines that scored Aspen Barker. Raines reached base all four times with two hits and two walks. Barker had two hits in her first two plate appearances.

The Lady Braves head coach was especially excited to see the girls persevere against two teams they lost to earlier this season.

“It is a good feeling knowing that both of them (Bremen and Bowdon) got us in the regular season but it is just a testament to how hard our girls work,” said Hornsby. “They work on specific things with specific pitchers and they have done a heck of a job with it. What they’ve done over the last couple of weeks has been remarkable.”

The win improved the Lady Braves season record to 17-10 entering the state tournament scheduled to begin with a doubleheader in the best-of-three series tomorrow at HHS.

Wednesday’s games will start at 3:00 PM with a possible “if” game taking place Thursday at 4:00 PM if necessary and also at HHS.

The Lady Braves will host the surprising No. 3 seed from Region 8-AA, the Washington-Wilkes Tigers. The Tigers were upset by Rabun County in Region 8-AA Monday meaning the Lady Braves will meet the AJC #10 ranked team in the first round.

Despite being unranked by the AJC, everyone in the state is well aware of what the defending champions are capable of, and the senior laden Lady Braves hope to use that as motivation to carry that chip on their shoulders all the way to Columbus and the state finals.

In other first round Region 5-AA match-ups, Bremen will host Rabun County, Bowdon will travel to Union County, and Temple will travel to Social Circle.

 

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: