November 13, 2018

Lady Braves edge Blue Devils behind strong pitching

Senior pitcher Sydney Gay leads the Lady Braves with a 6-0 record after earning a big 1-0 home win over Bremen Thursday (Photo: Penny Hood/ HCHS)

(Franklin, GA) — Strong pitching performances from senior Sydney Gay and junior Katelyn Jiles led the Lady Braves to a crucial 1-0 Region 5-AA win over rival Bremen in Franklin Thursday.

The win moved the No. 3 ranked Lady Braves to 7-0 in region play and 14-3 overall and put coach Matt Hornsby’s squad in the driver’s seat for a chance to host the region tourney.

It was the third straight one-run win by the Lady Braves versus the other top two teams in region, Lamar County and Bremen.

Sydney Gay started the game Thursday and was phenomenal to earn the win and push her team best season record to 6-0. Gay tossed four plus innings allowing just one hit and walk before handing it over to Jiles who earned her first save of the season.

The lone run of the game came in the form of a bunt just over the pitcher’s head off the bat of junior slapper Tori Caldwell to drive home pinch runner Beth Taylor in the bottom of the fourth.

Taylor was running for Marissa Garza who singled and moved over to second on a base hit from senior center fielder Kaitlyn Baldwin. Baldwin had two hits in the game along with a stolen base.

The defensive play of the game came off the glove of freshman catcher Mackenzie White with an awesome grab of a pop-up at the foul screen/brick wall behind home plate.

Freshman Abigail Lathrop was the only other Brave to manage multiple hits off of Bremen starter Ashlinn Garner who scattered seven hits and two walks in a strong outing for the Blue Devils.

“I thought the Bremen pitcher did a fantastic job and I thought both our girls Sydney and Katelyn were equally outstanding,” said Hornsby after the game. “Sydney was still rolling when we took her out and and I’m not so sure that she could not have gone the whole game. We started Syd tonight because she was 5-0 this year and now she is 6-0. It seems like every time she pitches we are telling her that was her best performance of the year.”

Senior center fielder Kaitlyn Baldwin (Photo: Penny Hood/HCHS)

Hornsby says that his senior center fielder has been important this year especially on the defensive side of the ball.

“Kaitlyn Baldwin has been as good in center field as any center fielder we’ve ever had and she has really been coming on at the plate lately and battling as evident by her two hits tonight,” Hornsby said.

Freshman slugger Janiyah Strong says she is enjoying her first varsity season with many new teammates.

“These girls are like my sisters — we are family and I love being around them at practice everyday,” said Strong after the game. “It was amazing to get this big region win tonight.”

With just three region games remaining on the schedule, the Lady Braves could clinch the home field advantage for the Region 5-AA tournament with wins next Tuesday at Temple and at home Thursday versus Callaway.

The seedings in the Class AA state playoffs will be based on the outcome at the region tournament so home field advantage is very important. Region 5-AA will face Region 8-AA in round one of the state playoffs October 10-12.

In addition to the two region games next week, the Lady Braves will host Central at home on Wednesday (6:00 PM). One of the three losses of the regular season by the Lady Braves came in a 6-5 loss to the Lions in Carrollton.

The only three losses of the season by the Lady Braves have come by two runs or less and all have been at the hands of highly ranked squads from much higher classifications. Central is ranked No. 2 in the state in Class AAAA according to Score Atlanta.

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