September 23, 2021

Lady Braves clinch home field for Region 5-AA tourney

(Franklin, GA) — The Lady Braves relied on all aspects of the game during a 9-0 region win over Haralson County Wednesday at HCHS to clinch home-field advantage for the upcoming Region 5-AA tournament.

Pitching, hitting, defense, and speed all contributed to the win that also served as some redemption from the squad’s only region setback of the season earlier this season.

LilyRae Fulford continued to look sharp in the circle as she tossed the five inning shutout for win No. 13 of her freshman season. She allowed just seven hits and again did not walk a batter.

Fulford has been a model of consistency this season — throwing a large percentage of her pitches in the strike zone and utilizing the great defense behind her in virtually every outing.

“LilyRae went out there and threw as well as she has all year,” said Coach Matt Hornsby after the game.

“Haralson has 4 or 5 hitters at the top of their lineup that can hit the ball out of the park at any time — and they did it hit the ball well the last time we played them. It was good to see us make those adjustments on those hitters that we needed to this time out.”

Fulford’s battery mate, junior Mackenzie White, continued her mid-season power surge with yet another home run — her team high 12th of the season.

White had two hits in the game and drove in four runs. She also leads the squad in RBI’s with 37 and is tied for second on the team in batting average at .437 with fellow junior outfielder Courtney Cannon.

Junior Janiyah Strong leads the team with a .473 batting average this season

Emma Helton, Alyssa Hall, and freshman Aubree Ussery also had multiple hits in the game.

Ussery added two stolen bases as the team swiped a total of four in the game.

Pinch-hitter Hannah Wright ended the game with a two RBI base hit in the bottom of the 5th inning.

Zekylah “Z” Boyd had a hit, a walk, and scored two. Boyd has now raised her season average to .397 for the season.

Boyd and Helton are tied for the team high in stolen bases this season with 11 apiece.

Junior third baseman Janiyah Strong remains the top hitting Lady Brave with a .473 average and leads the team in hits with 35.

The Lady Braves (17-5, 7-1) are now the No. 1 seed and will host the top four teams in Region 5-AA tournament beginning with the semifinals on Tuesday, October 13 at HCHS.

The Braves will meet No. 4 Callaway in one semifinal while No. 2 Bremen will face off with No. 3 Haralson County in the other semifinal.

The winners and losers will play one another at HCHS on Thursday, October 15 to settle not only the Region 5-AA Championship but to determine the playoff seedings for each team heading into the the GHSA Class AA state playoffs on October 20-21.

This year’s GHSA playoffs will feature three playoff rounds as opposed to the normal two and only the final four teams from each classification will advance to the State Championship Tournament October 30-31 in Columbus.

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