(Social Circle, GA) — The Lady Braves secured a spot in the Elite Eight of the GHSA State softball tournament Wednesday after sweeping a doubleheader on the road at Social Circle.
A large contingent of Brave fans were on hand for the road series despite the cold and blustery weather and the two-hour road trip.
In game one, a five run outburst in the fifth inning propelled the girls to a 7-0 win as Jordan Watson shut the Redskins out for the third straight state playoff game over the last two years.
Watson also had three hits at the plate while Anna Shelnutt and Cali Harrod each had two. Harrod scored three of the Lady Braves runs during the game.
Centerfielder Johanna Beyer made the key defensive play gunning down a Social Circle runner at the plate to end the bottom of the fourth inning.
In game two, Watson was stellar on the mound in a 5-2 victory, allowing only four hits while striking out 11 batters and giving up no earned runs.
Head coach Matt Hornsby said after the game it was “the best Watson has thrown all year.”
Anna Shelnutt led the way at the plate in game two with a single, two doubles, and two RBI’s. Watson, Harrod, and senior Shelby O’Neal each had two hits.
Jasmine Jacobs manned third base in both games instead of her normal catching position due to a back injury she has been dealing with for several weeks now. Jacobs was visibly in a lot of pain during game two but showed a lot of heart and guts as she still went 1-2 at the plate with a walk. Anna Shelnutt caught Watson in both games.
”I was worried about today,” said Coach Hornsby after the sweep at Social Circle.”This was a much different team than the one we faced last year. They had three or four really great hitters. Our girls made some great adjustments today mid-game against their pitcher, which is a testament to how hard they have been working.”
The Lady Braves will now move on to Columbus next Thursday at 2:30 for the first round of the state finals tournament where they will face the winner of a game three this afternoon between the Cook County Hornets and the Bacon County Red Raiders. The Lady Braves faced the Red Raiders in the opening game in Columbus last season, knocking them off 4-0.
The other remaining Region 5-AA squad, the Bremen Blue Devils, secured a spot next week as well with a sweep over Jefferson yesterday. Other teams who advanced to Columbus in AA yesterday were Jeff Davis, Calhoun, Harlem, and the defending state champion Dade County Wolverines. Berrien County and Bryan County will battle today for the final spot.
The Lady Braves are four wins away from a state title in the tournament that will last from Thursday until Saturday at the South Commons Softball Complex in Columbus.
Teams from all six classifications will be on hand next week vying for one of seven state championship trophies. Stay tuned to HeardCitizen.com for further tourney info leading up to next Thursday.