(Franklin) — The Lady Braves softball team finished off an outstanding regular season Friday with an 8-0 shut out of the Class 6-A Newnan Cougars. The win capped off the strongest season in school history with the team defeating 15 higher ranked schools of which most were ranked top 10 in the state.
The team now prepares to host the finals of the region tournament Saturday at the high school. The Lady Braves will face the lowest seeded remaining team at noon on Saturday and with a win would then play for the Region 5-AA title at 6:00 p.m.
Despite the über successful regular season, the girls must win both games Saturday or face a much tougher road in the state tournament.
Best two-out-of-three match-ups in round one of the state playoffs will take place October 16-17 and round two best-of-three series games are scheduled for October 23-24. Then all of the action will shift to Columbus, GA for the State Championship tournaments in all Classifications at the South Commons Softball Complex.
Sophomore pitcher Jordan Watson led the way on the hill this season finishing with a 19-3 record, a 1.61 ERA, and 135 strikeouts in only 123 innings pitched.
The big three, Watson, junior Cali Harrod, and sophomore Anna Shelnutt showed the way all year offensively. Shelnutt led the team in hitting with a .577 batting average with two home runs, 24 RBI’s, and a team leading 14 doubles.
Harrod continued to impress with a .563 average, eight homers, 27 RBI’s, 42 runs scored, and a phenomenal 33 stolen bases. Watson batted .556 with four homers and a team leading 31 RBI’s.
Coach Hornsby spoke highly of the girls’ effort this season after the game Friday: “We knew we had a talented team coming into the season but if you would have told me that we would have that many games rained out early on and we would pick up the sort of quality opponents that we did and still win 22 games I would have probably said ‘Yeah right’ sarcastically.”
The Lady Braves welcome home Senior Ashlyn Summerlin in front of Jordan Watson after Watson’s big home run in Friday’s 8-0 win over Newnan.
“It is not that I didn’t think we could have won that many but I knew so many would be games decided by one hit or one play,” added Hornsby. “Our girls did a good job of jumping on those teams early and making them battle back from behind.”
The Lady Braves three losses came by a total of four runs and all three were versus the best of the best in higher classifications.
Despite the roll the girls have been on lately, Hornsby is thankful for the much-needed week off to rest up for region on Saturday.
“We needed this time off to let some of our girls heal up,” said the coach. “Senior Jasmine Jacobs missed only the second game of her career Friday with back problems and Harrod and Shelnutt are also banged up.”
The coach noted that one of the big surprises this year especially early on was the play of senior Shemeka Parks, who only first played fast-pitch softball in her junior year. Parks struggled to make contact with the ball last season, but now has developed into a legitimate threat from the left side of the plate mainly because of her speed.
All of the pressure will be on the Lady Braves after having maintained the #1 ranking in the state for several weeks now. Stay tuned to HeardCitizen.com for all the latest news and information about the upcoming playoffs.