December 5, 2020

Lady Braves prevail at Classic

2015 Callaway Classic Champs (Front L-R): Ally Harris, Haley Bennett, Katie Minix, Alexis Raines, Madison Whitehead, Alyssa Cosper (Back L-R): Anna Cosper, Jordan Watson, Hannah Sanders, Taylor Storey, Sarah Schofield, Aspen Barker, Johanna Beyer, Anna Shelnutt, Hannah Stephens

2015 Callaway Classic Champs (Front L-R): Ally Harris, Haley Bennett, Katie Minix, Alexis Raines, Madison Whitehead, Alyssa Cosper (Back L-R): Anna Cosper, Jordan Watson, Hannah Sanders, Taylor Storey, Sarah Schofield, Aspen Barker, Johanna Beyer, Anna Shelnutt, Hannah Stephens

(Lagrange, GA) — The Lady Braves traveled to Lagrange this weekend for the annual Callaway Classic softball tournament at the Shufford Field complex and for the third consecutive time went 5-0 knocking off several area teams including a surprisingly familiar opponent in Saturday afternoon’s championship tilt.

After downing Pool B opponents Lagrange 9-1 and Troup 4-0 on Friday night, the girls returned Saturday morning to defeat Landmark Christian 12-0 and Hardaway High School 16-1.

Three of the four wins came by run rule finishes, but the championship game would be a much tighter 2-0 win over a rival Region 5-AA opponent, the Red Devilettes from Bowdon.

Bowdon earned its spot in the finale by winning Pool A over Jordan, Northside, Shaw, and tourney hosts Callaway.

Senior pitcher Jordan Watson led the way versus Bowdon, shutting them down at the plate while driving in the game’s only two runs with a base hit in the bottom of the third inning to score Johanna Beyer and Anna Shelnutt who both reached base by singles.

The two squads along with fans had to wait out an 85 minute delay while the umpires finished calling one of the other consolation games.

Oddly, Devil head coach Ralph Sanders did not throw his ace senior pitcher Allana Nunn, instead handing the ball to sophomore Macy Bearden who pitched well holding the Lady Braves to just five hits.

“You know they threw a different pitcher than we expected and she (Bearden) was good especially for a sophomore — she did a really good job of keeping us off balance,” said Hornsby after the championship game.

“We can only hope that having now seen both of their top pitchers that will help us when we face them again down the road.”

Beyer is off to perhaps the hottest start on the team offensively and is showing a lot of pop in her bat. From the lead-off spot, the senior center fielder blasted three homers during the tournament. Watson, Shelnutt, and Alexis Raines also went deep for their first homers of the season.

Alyssa Cosper had the big walk-off run-rule base hit over Landmark.

Madison Whitehead, Hannah Stephens, Anna Cosper, Hannah Sanders, newcomer Taylor Storey, Ally Harris, Haley Bennett, Sarah Schofield, Katie Minix, and Aspen Barker also played well. Schofield and Bennett each saw time in relief of Watson.

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“We had to deal with some defensive issues on Friday — I think that was just nerves — or the excitement more or less — the girls were just too amped up,” said Hornsby.

“I also have talk about this group of seniors — they are stepping up and straightening girls out when they need it — but handling it in a professional way. We are excited about this season for sure,” Hornsby added.

“This was a really good tournament to help get our bats going and get our team on the same page while giving us time to work on executing a lot of things on defense.”

The team will face a more challenging schedule of games this week as they travel to Columbus State University on Monday for the make-up from last week’s wash-out with the Lady Blue Devils. They will also meet Callaway on Tuesday in Lagrange (6:00 after JV) and Central on Wednesday (5:00 before JV) at Central High School in Carrollton.

The Lady Braves finally return home next Monday, August 24 to host the Lady Cougars of Newnan (6:00 after JV). it will be the first time the girls have played at home since winning the state title last November.

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