December 2, 2020

Doubleheader split forces do-or-die game for Lady Braves

(Franklin, GA) — After splitting a doubleheader Wednesday afternoon with the visiting Bleckley County Royals, an exciting post-season softball run for the Lady Braves will continue at Heard High School this afternoon with a deciding game three that will determine which team will move on to Columbus and which team will see its season come to an end.

Each team battled back from a four-run deficit to gain victories yesterday and there was plenty of offensive power on display as the two line-ups combined to score 34 runs in the twin bill that lasted almost six hours.

The Lady Braves led 4-0 heading to the fifth inning in game one before a grand slam by lefty Landa Dominy tied the game at 4-4.

After starting pitcher Haley Bennett held the Royal hitters at bay through the first four, they exploded for 10 runs over the last three innings to take game one 10-5.

In game two, it would be the Lady Braves that would comeback from a deficit. After scoring two as the visiting team in the top half of the first, the Lady Braves would allow the visiting Lady Royals to rally to a 6-2 lead heading into the fourth inning.

With the season on the line, the Lady Braves would tie the game at 6-6 with four runs in the top half of the fourth and the teams were tied at 7-7 heading into the final inning.

The Lady Braves would score three huge runs in the top of the seventh with only one hit, a lead-off double by senior Ally Harris to take a 10-7 lead.

Mallory Gallaway earned the win in game two yesterday, tossing 6.1 innings in relief

Mallory Gallaway earned the win in game two yesterday, tossing 6.1 innings in relief

The very potent Royals line-up would not surrender however as Faith Harris belted a 2-run HR to draw the Royals within one at 10-9.

They would have the tying run on third as sophomore Mallory Gallaway would get the final out via fly ball to center fielder Kaitlyn Baldwin to force today’s rubber match-up.

Gallaway pitched 6.1 innings in relief of freshman starter Katelyn Jiles to earn the win.

After using three pitchers in the first two games, Coach Matt Hornsby expects all four of his young pitchers to be ready in today’s do-or-die contest at 4:00 PM at HHS.

“We will have all four pitchers ready to go in game three and my guess is we may have to use all four to have a chance to win,” said Hornsby after the split. “They remind you of the offensive line-up of a much bigger 4-A or 5-A school and I think we are just going to outscore them today.”

Hornsby was again pleased with how his squad battled back after dropping the first game of a series for the second straight week.

“We can’t say enough about our girls and how they battled back out there today and bounced back in that game two. They were able to put game one out of their minds which is what you have to be able to do. Mallory Gallaway did an awesome job out there for us on the mound in game two.”

Ally Harris led the Braves offensively in game one with two hits and two RBI’s. In game two, it was again Harris and fellow senior Hannah Stephens who each tallied two hits. Kaitlyn Baldwin, Aspen Barker, and Alyssa Cosper also had run producing efforts at the plate.

The two teams will meet again today at 4:00 PM at Heard High in a do-or-die affair to decide which team’s season will end and which team’s season will continue on to next week’s State Championship tourney in Columbus.

The Lady Braves are vying for their fifth straight trip to Columbus to meet Bacon County in the opening game.

Bleckley County last earned a trip to Columbus in 2011. Bacon County, Dodge County, Vidalia, Rockmart, Harlem, and Jeff-Davis all completed sweeps Wednesday to secure their spots in next week’s bracket. Dade County and Berrien also split yesterday and face a game three today.

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