November 15, 2018

Lady Braves end season with strong state ranking

The Lady Braves prior to the trip to Columbus for the State Tournament. The squad ended the season with a No. 6 state ranking and a solid 24-9 record

(Franklin, GA) — Following a 1-2 record at the State Tournament, the Lady Braves softball team finished the season with a strong No. 6 state ranking in Class AA according to the final rankings released by Score Atlanta/AJC this week.

The young squad that started five freshman was unable to overcome a couple of really talented teams in Columbus but the season was a very successful one for the team that was unranked during the first few weeks of the season.

The Lady Braves finished with an outstanding overall record of 24-9 with an unblemished record of 12-0 and a title in Region 5-AA.

The Lady Braves got off to a slow start in the state tourney losing 12-2 to Dodge County who ended the season with the No. 5 state ranking.

After bouncing back to defeat 2016 state champion Harlem 8-3 on day two, the Lady Braves dropped their final game of the season to Monticello who closed out the season at No. 3.

Social Circle went a perfect 4-0 at the tourney to claim the Class AA title. Banks County finished at No. 2 to give a strong Region 8-AA the top three spots in the state.

Several Lady Braves had big moments in Columbus including freshman Mackenzie White who launched her first career homer in the loss to Dodge.

Another freshman, Abigail Lathrop had a four-hit performance in the win over Harlem and senior Sydney Gay earned the win over Harlem after a strong performance on the hill.

Coach Matt Hornsby was especially proud of the gritty performance by the senior pitcher in the tourney.

“We didn’t play like we wanted to on day one which was uncharacteristic but then we came out against Harlem and won against one of the best pitchers down there. Harlem jumped out to a 3-0 lead but Sydney just settled in and pitched her tail off for the rest of the game. I could not be more proud of her — she got us down here and was our No. 1 starter all year.”

Freshman Mackenzie White hit her first career home run at Columbus

The Lady Braves did show a lot of guts and toughness on the state’s biggest stage.

Two examples were Senior Alexus Crawford postponed much-needed hand surgery to be able to pinch run for her team and junior outfielder Tori Caldwell who came back on day two after being injured diving across the outfield fence to try and rob a Dodge County homer in game one.

Hornsby was also proud of his team’s fight in Columbus and especially the leadership shown all season by the senior class.

“We couldn’t be more proud of our seniors and the leadership they showed our team this year,” said Hornsby.

“A lot of these young girls experienced their first taste of Columbus and it was important that the seniors led us to that win — to show these underclassmen what it takes to win down here. Just being able to get down here and and compete is going to be very beneficial for these underclassmen in the coming years.”

The Braves Class of 2019 seniors included Kaitlyn Baldwin, Lora Glover, Sydney Gay, Haley Bennett, Taylor Paris, and Alexus Crawford.

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