November 26, 2020

Lady Braves face uphill climb after 3-2 loss to Indians

(Columbus, GA) — The Lady Braves dropped game one at the GHSA Class AA State Tournament in Columbus Thursday afternoon, falling 3-2 to the Vidalia Indians — the top seed from Region 2-AA.

Each team entered the round one match-up knowing the importance of winning the first game in the double-elimination tournament.

The Indians, ranked #2 in the state in both polls, would never relinquish the lead after a two-run home run by junior first baseman Jolie Bush in the bottom of the third put them on top 3-1.

Anna Shelnutt had gotten the Lady Braves off on the right track with a solo shot in the top of the first giving the Lady Braves a 1-0 advantage. The blast was the senior catcher’s school record 13th of the season.

A double by Regan Norfleet tied the game at 1-1 in the bottom of the first.

Alexis Raines had two hits on the day, the second closing the gap to 3-2 in the top of the sixth inning.

The Lady Braves managed just four hits off of junior Indian pitcher Rebecca Lawrence. Lawrence struck out three while allowing no walks in the complete-game win.

“Our girls just have to take a deep breath now. I told them after the game that it is a fitting start considering how our season has gone,” said head coach Matt Hornsby. “We had a lot go wrong early in the season and we overcame it. We just have to take it game by game now and not hold anything back.”

The Lady Braves now face a very difficult road in the loser’s bracket where they will need to win six straight games to earn a second consecutive state title.

“The biggest thing now is we need to come out and execute our approach to where we get back on the good side of the scoreboard and we never look back,” Hornsby added.

“I felt like a couple of times in that game today we got away from our approach at the plate and were swinging at some pitches we shouldn’t have — but credit them (Vidalia) they got the big hit and we didn’t.”

The Lady Braves will next do battle with Harlem at 9:00 a.m. Friday morning. The Bulldogs were defeated by Social Circle 2-0 Thursday afternoon.

It will be the third Columbus meeting between the Lady Braves and Bulldogs in the last four seasons. The two squads split the first two match-ups with the Lady Braves winning 4-1 in 2012 and the Bulldogs winning 2-0 in 2013.

Junior Ally Harris waits for a pitch in Thursday afternoon's 3-2 loss to Vidalia

Junior Ally Harris waits for a pitch in Thursday afternoon’s 3-2 loss to Vidalia

If the Lady Braves can keep winning they would play again at 1:00 and 5:00 Friday. Another loss will end the season for the Lady Braves.

If they make it through all three games Friday they would return to action Saturday at 10:30 a.m. needing back-to-back-to-back wins to earn the big trophy.

In other Class AA action Gordon Lee knocked off Union County 12-2 in five innings and Bryan County edged Seminole County 5-3. Bryan edged Gordon Lee 1-0 in game two meaning the winner of the Harlem-Heard game will get Gordon Lee at 1:00 p.m. Friday.

The Central-Carrollton Lady Lions got off to a rousing start with a 9-0 win over Ringgold in Class AAA.

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