December 1, 2020

Lady Braves pound Chiefs, Lions to open season 2-0

(Villa Rica, GA) — The Lady Braves softball team lived up to the early season hype Saturday at Gold Dust Park In Villa Rica Saturday as they opened the season with two big wins in the weather shortened Villa Rica Tournament.

Head coach Matt Hornsby expected his squad to get in at least five games over the weekend, but a wash-out of all games on Friday at the V-Plex led to a change of venue for Saturday and even more foul weather cancelled a third game with Cartersville after only two innings of scoreless softball Saturday evening.

In the most anticipated match-up involving  any of the 11 teams in the tournament, the Lady Braves drubbed the Central Lady Lions 12-3 behind solid work on the mound from sophomore Michigan State commit Jordan Watson and a late grand slam homer from junior shortstop and FSU commit Cali Harrod.

Harrod’s big blast came in the top of the seventh inning and took all of the wind out of the sails of the Lions who were playing their third consecutive game.

Sophomore Johanna Beyer’s two-RBI double keyed a big four run first inning for the Lady Braves in the match-up of third place teams from AA and AAA last season. Madison Whitehead also had a solid game with two hits and senior Ashlyn Summerlin scored twice.

Watson pitched five innings allowing six hits and two earned runs while striking out three. She also continued her solid hitting at the plate with a home run and three RBI’s.

Newcomer transfer from Lagrange, Shelby O’Neal, pitched the final two innings in relief. “We had only had about a week to practice with our entire varsity team together. Overall I am satisfied with the way we performed today, but we definitely have some things we need to work on — for the first two games of the year though we will take it. It is especially good to be able to beat a team like Central that finished third in AAA last year and only lost two seniors.”

In the early game of the day, the Lady Braves took down the McIntosh Chiefs, a AAAAA school, 8-1 again relying on solid work from the mound and quality at bats at the plate.

Sophomore hurler Jordan Watson got both wins on Saturday and also homered at the plate

Sophomore hurler Jordan Watson got both wins on Saturday and also homered at the plate

Five Lady Braves tallied three hits each including Anna Shelnutt (3-5, HR, 2-RBI’s), Jordan Watson (3-5, RBI), Madison Whitehead (3-4), Johanna Beyer (3-4), and Shemeka Parks(3-4, RBI). According to Hornsby, Parks has really improved after only learning the game over the past two seasons.

Harrod again was big at the plate with two doubles and three RBI’s. O’Neal also had two hits.

O’Neal is glad to be a part of the Lady Braves team after transferring from Lagrange High School for her senior season. “I am excited to be a Lady Brave,” said O’Neal. “It is so much fun and already have so many friends on the team from the travel ball circuit.”

O’Neal could be crucial to the season as the number two pitcher behind Watson. She pitched three solid innings in relief of Watson versus the Chiefs, allowing only a single hit.

Watson pitched the first four innings only allowing three hits and striking out three.

The team will be back in action next weekend at the Shuford Fields softball complex in Lagrange for the Callaway Tournament. The girls will face Callaway (6:00 pm) and Shaw (7:30 pm) on Friday before returning to face Troup (10:00 am), Central (11:30 am), and Hardaway (2:30) on Saturday.

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