September 18, 2019

Lady Braves riding high into Region 5-AA play

(Franklin, GA) — The Heard County Lady Braves softball team just keeps rolling along.

The squad knocked off Region 5-AA rival Callaway 9-1 in front of a huge home crowd Thursday at HCHS to win their fourth straight game in less than a week.

Coach Matt Hornsby’s squad now sits at 7-2 on the season and most importantly 2-0 in region play with three more region games slated for next week.

The only two loses of the season for the Lady Braves have been to the No. 1 team in Class AAAAAAA East Coweta and the No. 1 team in Class A Private Wesleyan.

Senior Lady Brave Hannah Holden (Photo: HCHS)

Senior Hannah Holden had a big night at the plate versus Callaway going 3-for-3 with her first home run of the season, a double, and three RBI’s.

Mackenzie White blasted another homer and Janiyah Strong had three hits while Emma Helton and Beth Taylor also put together multiple hit efforts.

On the hill, it was yet again a solid performance from No. 1 starting pitcher Katelyn Jiles who earned her team leading sixth win of the season.

The senior hurler has been spectacular all season long posting an ERA of 2.97 and she has allowed only three walks (one intentional) in over 37 innings.

The second region win came on the heels of another dominating 9-1 win at previously unbeaten Class AAAAAA Northgate on Wednesday.

Jiles did not allow an earned run in either game and needed only 109 total pitches to earn the back-to-back wins.

Senior No. 2 pitcher Caroline Jones has also pitched well this season with a 3.11 ERA in her nine innings of work with 11 strikeouts. She started the game and earned her first in of the season in a 16-0 romp over Temple to open region play last Tuesday.

At the plate, a host of Lady Braves have led the way this year with big offensive numbers.

The sophomore catcher White leads the team in batting average at an unreal .714, doubles with four, and home runs with four despite missing three games to attend an exclusive catching camp.

Sophomore shortstop Emma Helton has brutalized opposing teams from the top of the lineup batting .500 in 31 plate appearances, a team high three triples and five stolen bases.

The Lady Braves have run often with senior Tori Caldwell owning the team lead in steals with nine. Sophomore third baseman Janiyah Strong has been valuable in all facets as well. She is hitting .481 with two doubles, two homers, a team high 12 RBI’s and eight steals.

The always consistent four-year starter Hannah Holden is hitting .414 on the year with  two doubles, 10 RBI’s and three steals.

Junior Beth Taylor is hitting .400 with 10 base hits and senior Brittany Graley has been surging in a huge way at the plate over the last week to raise her season average to .381. She has three doubles, six RBI’s and a homer in just 23 plate appearances.

Sophomore first baseman Abigail Lathrop is another consistent performer at the plate with an average of .375 and nine base hits.

The Lady Brave head coach is really pleased with how the offense has come on over the past few games.

“Just two or three weeks ago at the end of the summer we weren’t swinging as well as we thought we would be but over the past couple of weeks our hitting has come along really quickly and we have really been getting the barrels on it and hammering some balls.”

The Lady Braves travel to Jordan in Columbus for a region doubleheader next Tuesday and will host Class AAAAAAA Newnan on Wednesday at HCHS before traveling to Lamar County on Thursday for another huge Region 5-AA match-up versus the rival Lady Trojans.

Hornsby expects a tough battle at Barnesville Thursday.

“Lamar has a good team with two or three D1 commits and they have a really dang good pitcher that’s headed to Georgia Southern,” says Hornsby. “She throws hard and it will be one of those situations where we will just have to take care of our business at the plate and hope that our pitchers can keep throwing it like they have been all year.”

 

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