September 19, 2019

Pitching, defense, timely hitting lead Lady Braves to thrilling win

Sophomore catcher Mackenzie White had three doubles including the eventual game-winner Thursday and also picked a crucial go-ahead run off the bases in the 3-2 Region 5-AA win

(Barnesville, GA) — The Lady Braves put the old adage of “pitching, defense, and timely hitting” to good work Thursday in a thrilling 3-2 win at arch Region 5-AA rival Lamar County.

The Trojans gained some huge momentum early with two long solo homers in the bottom of the first off of Katelyn Jiles to take a 2-0 lead that would hold up until the top of the third when the Lady Brave offense would come to life to even the score at 2-2.

A single by Beth Taylor scored pinch runner Christina Garcia following a double from catcher Mackenzie White and Taylor would score on another timely hit from sophomore first baseman Abigail Lathrop.

The game would remain knotted at 2-2 until the top of the seventh when the Lady Braves would again do the right things at the plate to push the go ahead and eventual winning run across the plate.

Lead-off hitting shortstop Emma Helton notched a base hit to get it started and then Janiyah Strong did a great job on a hit-and-run to get the ground out to move her into scoring position for White.

White would not disappoint as she laced her third double of the game with a two strike count to bring Helton home with the game-deciding score.

In the field it was a combination of solid defense and a tenacious Jiles that would lead the way. Jiles settled down nicely after the first inning Trojan fireworks to go the distance and earn the complete game win. She allowed just six hits and one walk while striking out three.

Control has been a strong suit for Jiles in 2019 and Thursday was no different as 53 of her 78 pitches were strikes.

Despite the great pitching from Jiles and timely hitting from the line-up, it was perhaps the defense that was the MVP of the game with several big plays keeping the Trojans at bay.

With runners at first and third and only one out for the Trojans in the bottom of the fourth, Helton and second baseman Z Boyd turned a nice double play to Lathrop to end the inning.

In the bottom of the sixth, it was White picking off the potential go-ahead run at second base that squashed the potential rally.

Coach Matt Hornsby was excited to see his squad battle so hard against a very tough opponent.

“Katelyn didn’t have her best stuff early on but I thought she was a totally different pitcher in the last four innings. Our defense really stepped up and made plays when they had to,” said Hornsby. “That was a good pitcher and line-up for Lamar we faced today. Janiyah did a fantastic job of moving that winning run over and Mackenzie did a great job of two shortening up with two strikes to get that big hit for us.”

It was a huge win for the team as they hope to host the Region 5-AA tourney down the road.

The Lady Braves (9-2, 3-0) will face another huge Region 5-AA rival next when they travel to Bremen next Thursday. The Lady Blue Devils (11-3, 5-0) are playing some stellar softball as well right now having won 10 straight games.

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