May 22, 2018

Lady Braves sweep off the road to Columbus

(Franklin) — To say the Lady Braves softball team have enjoyed a home-field advantage during the state playoffs the past two seasons would be a vast understatement.

The ladies took care of some state business once again Thursday afternoon at Heard High School, sweeping the AJC #7 ranked Berrien Rebels from South Georgia by final scores of 7-0 and 6-0.

The two shutout wins give the Lady Braves an 8-0 record over the past two seasons in home playoff games and they have outscored opponents by a combined score of 71-0.

Junior third baseman Hannah Sanders

Junior third baseman Hannah Sanders

Junior third baseman Hannah Leigh Sanders dealt the big blows to the Rebels in both games Thursday, going 4-for-6 with two home runs, a triple, four runs scored, and six RBI’s.

“I have been in a really bad slump so it just feels really good that my hard work is finally paying off,” Sanders said after Thursday’s sweep.

According to head Coach Matt Hornsby, Sanders is one of the hardest workers on the team.

“It is good to see Hannah Sanders come out like that today. It is always nice to see a player get rewarded for all of her hard work and to see that effort pay off,” said Hornsby.

Jordan Watson also had a huge day at the dish going 4-for-7 with a homer, a double, and four RBI’s. Watson continues to look strong at the plate since returning from a mid-season shoulder injury.

Another senior, Anna Shelnutt, finished off her home career with a solo HR in her last at-bat of game two. The blast over the left field fence extends her single season Heard County home run record to 12.

Junior shortstop Aspen Barker added three hits during the doubleheader while Johanna Beyer and Alyssa Cosper each drove in runners with hits in game one.

In the circle, Watson proved once again to have found her post-season form. The senior hurler shut the Rebel offense down completely only allowing a single runner to reach third base and getting two strike-outs to end that threat.

Watson pitched five innings to earn the 7-0 win in game one allowing only two hits and walk over five innings striking out eight Rebel hitters.

In game two she went five once again allowing just one base hit with five strike-outs. The senior Michigan State commit has been virtually unhittable over the past two post seasons sporting a 16-0 record while allowing just two single runs last year in the State Championship 6-2 win over Gordon Lee.

The Rebels did not fare any better against Lady Brave senior relief pitcher Sarah Schofield. Schofield pitched the last four innings of both games allowing just two hits and striking out two.

The Lady Braves advance to the State Tournament in Columbus for the fourth straight season in search of a second straight State Championship.

They will meet a familiar foe in the first game on Thursday as they face off with the AJC #2 ranked Vidalia Indians (2:30 PM). The Lady Braves downed Vidalia 4-0 in last year’s winner’s bracket final.

Hornsby gives a lot of credit to his senior class for another great season.

 “Up until the time these seniors stepped on campus Heard County softball had only been to Columbus one time and now here they are taking us back for the fourth year in a row and of course thy still aren’t done they have four more games to win,”said Hornsby.

The winner of Heard and Vidalia will meet the winner of Social Circle and Harlem at 7:45 Thursday night. The loser will be relegated to the loser’s bracket in the three-day long double elimination state tourney.

The other four state finalists in Class AA include Gordon Lee, Bryan Co., Seminole Co., and Union Co.

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