June 18, 2018

Lady Braves, Indians split to force decisive game 3

(Franklin, GA) — The Armuchee Lady Indians proved to be a very game No. 4 seed Wednesday afternoon in Franklin where they split a doubleheader with the Lady Braves to force a rubber game in the best-of-three opening round of the GHSA Class AA State softball playoffs.

The Lady Indians (No. 4, Region 7-AA) upended the Region 5-AA Champions Lady Braves (No. 1, Region 5-AA) by a final score of 2-1 in the first game of the day before the Lady Braves stormed back to take the nightcap 14-6.

Senior Hannah Sanders led the Lady Braves with six RBI's Wednesday

Senior Hannah Sanders led the Lady Braves with six RBI’s Wednesday

Sophomore Haley Bennett started both games in the circle for the Lady Braves and pitched well earning the win in game two.

The key blow in the series opening win for the Indians came off the bat of junior Savannah Poole in the form of a 2-run homer in the top of the fourth inning.

An Ally Harris double and an RBI single from Hannah Sanders provided the lone run for the Lady Braves in the bottom of the second. The Lady Braves struggled to capitalize on scoring opportunities in game one against Lady Indian junior starting pitcher Erin Carney.

Lady Brave skipper Matt Hornsby was ejected during the bottom of the seventh inning in game one after arguing a call at second base where a Lady Brave pinch runner Alexus Crawford was called out.

By GHSA rule, Hornsby must serve a two game suspension and was therefore unavailable for game two and will be unavailable for game three slated for today at 2:00 PM at Heard High.

Assistant coach Trent Bianco coached the Lady Braves to the victory in the nightcap and will again be in charge for game three today.

Sanders blasted her eighth homer of the season to break open game two in the top of the fifth inning. The 300 plus foot bomb was the 22nd of Sanders’ career moving her into second place on the all-time Heard County home run list behind Cali Harrod (24). Sanders had a big day all around at the plate with six RBI’s.

“We just have to stay with our approach we know where she (Carney) is coming from — so we just have to back off the plate keep our hands in and do what we need to do,” said Sanders after the game.

Other big hitters in game two included Harris with a bases clearing double in the bottom of the sixth. Hannah Holden, Alyssa Cosper, Aspen Barker, Brittany Graley, and Kaitlyn Baldwin each had multiple hits in game two.

Katelyn Jiles and Sydney Gay pitched in relief for Bennett late in game two.

Bianco was pleased to see the girls keep fighting after dropping game one.

“It just shows how much heart these girls have and that’s the good thing about being in a program that continually expects to go to Columbus — whether we dropped the first game or not we expect to come back and win game two,” said Bianco after the game.

“It took a little bit for our bats to wake up today, but when they finally did we were swinging it and we have a lot of momentum heading into game three.”

The Lady Braves (20-10) continued to play well defensively and hope to continue to build on the momentum from game two. The Lady Indians (14-16) look to forget game two and bounce back.

“Credit the Armuchee girls for making the plays in game one and finding a way to win but backs against the wall our girls responded in a big way in game two. Armuchee is not your typical No. 4 seed — they come from a tough region and they have a pitcher than can move it around,” added Bianco, also the Braves head baseball coach in the spring.

The winner of game three today will advance to the Sweet 16 round next week to take on Bleckley County (No. 2, Region 3-AA) who swept Fitzgerald (No. 3, Region 1-AA.) Wednesday afternoon.

If the Lady Braves win today, they would host Bleckley in round two beginning with a doubleheader next Wednesday, October 19.

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