December 15, 2018

Garza grand slam leads Lady Braves past Bremen

(Bremen, GA) — The Lady Braves notched a huge 6-4 win in the Region 5-AA opener at No. 9 ranked Bremen Tuesday after a pop-up shower spoiled a potential Lady Devil rally in the bottom of the sixth inning.

The contest had already featured several shifts in momentum but none bigger than a top of the fifth inning grand slam by junior left fielder Marissa Garza to give the Lady Braves a 6-2 lead.

The Lady Braves (5-1, 1-0) scored the game’s first run in the top of the first on an RBI single by freshman first baseman Abigail Lathrop to score Hannah Holden who led the game off with a base hit.

In the bottom of the first, the Lady Devils (4-4, 0-1) responded with a pair of two-out runs off of starting pitcher Haley Bennett before Katelyn Jiles came on in relief to record the final out of the inning.

In the top of the third Holden would tie the game at 2-2 with her second homer of the year. Jiles remained in the game and pitched well — shutting out the Devils for the next three innings.

An intentional walk to hot-hitting Janiyah Strong loaded the bases to set the stage for Garza’s big blast. Garza, the team’s HR leader in 2017, missed significant time over the summer due to injury and has been working hard to get her timing back during the early season.

The Lady Braves mob Marissa Garza after her huge grand slam Tuesday in Bremen

Bremen closed the gap to 6-4 after five innings following a HR from senior Micaela Quesada with two down in the fifth.

The rains arrived during the bottom of the sixth inning and wreaked some havoc for the Lady Braves defense as playing conditions worsened.

Unable to get a good grip on the ball, Jiles would hit three batters in the inning and a wild pitch would bring the Devils within one at 6-5 as play was halted by the umpires at 6:57 PM.

The rains moved away quickly, but the Bremen staff were unable to dry out the field enough to continue the game and after almost a 90 minute delay the game was called with the Lady Braves getting the win as the game was already official.

As a result of the game being called, the official final score reverted back to the 6-4 score at the beginning of the incompleted inning.

Jiles allowed just three hits in her 4 and 2/3 innings of work to earn the win.

Coach Matt Hornsby was excited to see the depth of his roster coming into play during a vitally important early season game.

“Luckily, after they walked Janiyah, Marissa was doing her work and getting ready in the on deck circle and came through big for us with that home run — she hit that ball a long way,” said Hornsby. “Haley just didn’t have her best stuff tonight, but Katelyn really came through for us and battled. Being able to pick each other up is what we have to be able to do in order to be successful.”

Bremen moved back down to Region 5-AA this year after playing in Class AAA last year and making it all the way to the state semifinals. The Devils returned several upperclassmen and Hornsby knows Tuesday’s hard-fought win is a crucial one in the playoff picture despite being the first game in region play.

“We’re excited to get this region win. We’ve said several times that we are glad to have Bremen back in our region because we it makes our region better and you’ve got to play these back and forth games throughout the season because they make you better. You can’t win all of them but those are the ones that make you better for playoff time. This one sets the tone for Region 5-AA this year.”

The two squads will square off again on September 13 in Franklin.

The Lady Braves won’t have much time to savor the win as they return to action today versus Class AAAAAA Northgate in the home opener at Heard High. First pitch is scheduled to take place at 5:55 PM following JV action at 4:30 PM.

The squad faces another mammoth opponent on Thursday when they travel to Class AAAAAAA Newnan (5:55 PM following JV).

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