November 15, 2018

HCMS Lady Braves capture back-to-back softball titles

2018 Lady Brave Division Champions (Front L-R): Kacey Bates, Gracie Bailey, Chasity Kates, Taylor Bailey, Hannah Wright, Maddie Carroll, Jasmine Owens, Morgan Smith (Back L-R): Coach Trevor Spradlin, Coach Dalton Reed, Maddie Denney, Maleyah Hart, Jayden Boykin, Emilee Mock, Callee Crockett, Natalie Schneider, Aubree Ussery, Chloe Scarborough, Makenlie Lasseter, Carolyn Garcia, Lily Rae Fulford, Coach Kelly Hadley, Head Coach Alicia Carroll

(Franklin, GA) — The Heard County Middle School Lady Braves softball team claimed another small school division title Thursday by outlasting three other teams in an impromptu one day tournament at HCMS in Franklin.

The tourney was originally scheduled to take place over several days last week, but bad weather forced the teams to play the semifinals and championship game in one day this week.

The Lady Braves earned the home field advantage after another tremendous regular season with only one loss to Bay Springs from the large school division.

A 16-1 semifinal win over Villa Rica and a hard-fought 6-4 come-back win over second seeded Bowdon in the title game brought home the school’s second straight trophy.

The Lady Braves (13-1) trailed 4-3 heading to the bottom of the fifth inning before rallying for three runs to take the lead for good. Over the last two combined seasons, the Lady Braves have lost just one game.

Aubrey Ussery and Hannah Wright were the offensive leaders at the plate for the Lady Braves in 2018 with each batting well above the .500 mark.

In 38 plate appearances, Ussery batted .595 with a homer, three doubles, 18 singles, 17 RBI’s, and 11 runs scored. Hannah Wright batted .586 with three triples, six doubles, and 15 runs scored to go along with eight steals. Wright also walked 10 times including an intentional walk during the title game comeback.

Another offensive force for the Lady Braves was Chasity Kates who again used her speed to the detriment of the opposition. Kates batted .464 with a triple and a team-high 26 stolen bases.

Other offensive leaders that all batted above .300 for the Lady Brave included the Bailey sisters. Taylor Bailey batted .444 with two triples, 10 RBI’s, and nine steals while Gracie Bailey hit .387 with 10 steals and 19 runs scored.

Maddie Carroll batted .412 with 11 runs scored and drew nine walks. Jasmine Owens batted .367 with three doubles and nine RBI’s while Morgan Smith hit .360, stole eight bases, and led the team in walks with 11.

Strong players off the bench included Makenlie Lasseter (6-for-7 with two walks and 7 RBI’s) and Emily Mock (6-for-9 with 12 runs scored and 3 walks).

On the mound, the Lady Braves were led by standout pitchers Lily Rae Fulford and Chloe Scarbrough.

Fulford carried the bulk of the pitching load this season tossing 53 plus innings with an ERA of only 2.68. She struck out 44 while allowing just nine walks.

In her 13 innings pitched, Scarbrough struck out 17 and allowed just a single run all season.

Former Lady Brave pitcher and first year middle school head coach Alicia Carroll was pleased by the girls’ hard work and success this season.

“We went into the season kind of last minute because we didn’t have tryouts until the first week of school. So we had to do a lot of prep work and put in a lot of make-up time but these girls really bought into it from the beginning,” Carroll said following the championship win.

“We preached to the girls that we need to be a family and work together and that everybody plays a part and that really showed in the championship game today. Even the girls in the dugout, everyone stayed up and everyone played a part this year– we couldn’t have accomplished what we just did without all of them.”

Carroll, a 2012 graduate of HCHS, says she “loves being back home.”

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