September 23, 2021

Lady Braves sweep Union County to open Class AA State Playoffs

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(Franklin, GA) — The Lady Braves softball team swept the visiting Union County Panthers from Region 8-AA in the first round of the GHSA Class AA State Playoffs Monday afternoon in Franklin.

The Lady Braves relied on all three phases of the game to win game one Monday by a final score of 8-0 in six innings.

LilyRae Fulford looked sharp in the circle to earn her 16th win of the season. The freshman scattered just three hits over five innings of work and as usual did not walk a hitter. Fulford has only walked nine batters in 117.1 innings of work this season.

Chloe Scarborough pitched a scoreless sixth inning in relief before starting game two.

Scarborough earned her fifth win of the season with a strong game two performance where the Lady Braves came out on top 7-2. She allowed just two earned over five innings before sophomore Maddie Carroll closed it out by tossing the final two scoreless frames.

Several Lady Braves had big days at the plate including senior Beth Taylor who broke game one open with a 2-run homer.

Freshman Aubree Ussery and junior left fielder Courtney Cannon paced the offense in game one with three hits each while Emma Helton, Janiyah Strong, and Mackenzie White each tallied two hits.

Senior Alyssa Hall was the big run producer in game one driving home three runs with her two hits including a double.

In game two, Zekylah Boyd led the way with three hits including a double while the top of the lineup’s Helton, Strong, and White again tallied multiple hits. Abigail Lathrop and Alyssa Hall each drove in two runs.

Senior Homecoming Queen Sydney Goddard also had a nice twin bill at the plate going 2-for-2 at the plate.

The Lady Brave defense shined all game long with several nice plays made all around the field.

Coach Matt Hornsby was pleased with his team’s overall performance in bouncing back from last week’s tough region championship game loss to Bremen.

“I thought that offensively, we hit well in up and down the lineup both games but I told the girls I was more impressed in game two where we were facing a new pitcher we hadn’t seen before,” said Hornsby after the round one sweep.

“Pitching wise, I thought LilyRae threw as good as could ask in game one and Chloe threw awesome in game two as well. It was also good to see Maddie Carroll get in there and throw some strikes for us in game two. We have been trying to get her in there and we think she can fill an important role for us when we need some innings as we move though these playoffs.”

The Lady Braves (22-7) will face a long road trip in the Sweet 16 when they travel to Trenton, GA to take on the Dade County Wolverines (19-3-1), the top seed from Region 7-AA in Northwest Georgia.

Freshman Aubree Ussery (Photo: Tammy Bailey)

The two teams will square off in a doubleheader Thursday beginning at 4:00 PM and if necessary a third and deciding game would take place Friday afternoon at 3:00 PM also at DCHS.

Region 5-AA fared well overall in the first round against Region 8-AA with three of the four 5-AA teams advancing.

No. 1 seed Bremen swept Rabun County and will host Chattooga in round two while No. 3 Haralson County swept Elbert County on the road and will travel to meet private school Lovett in round two.

Region 5-AA No. 4 seed Callaway fell to Banks County in a doubleheader sweep on the road.

Other Class AA teams advancing to the Sweet 16 with sweeps included Vidalia, Monticello, Berrien, Oglethorpe Co., Pepperell, Bleckley Co., and Cook.

Rubber games taking place today include game three matchups featuring Dodge County vs. Jeff Davis and Worth County vs. Jefferson County.

With a win at Dade County this week, the Lady Braves would meet the winner between Berrien and Monticello next Tuesday and Wednesday in another best-of-3 series.

The Lady Braves would travel to face Berrien or face a GHSA universal coin flip versus fellow No. 2 seed Monticello.

Under a different format this season, the four round three winners will meet in Columbus to compete for the Class AA State Championship Oct. 30-31 as opposed to the usual eight teams per classification.

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