(Newnan, Ga) — The Lady Braves’ 14-game win streak ended Monday in Newnan where the girls lost a tough 5-4 battle with the state’s number one 5-A school, the Northgate Vikings.
The bats were hot on both sides as the two squads pounded out a total of 23 hits, but the Lady Braves stranded 10 runners, too much to overcome against one of the state’s true softball powerhouses. Northgate has one two state titles and made it at least as far as the Elite Eight in 10 of the last 11 seasons.
A single by center fielder Johanna Beyer and a bases-loaded walk to Cali Harrod put the Lady Braves on top 2-0 in the top of the fourth but Northgate responded quickly with four runs in the bottom half of the inning — the main blow being a two-run blast over the center field fence by Jessica Houk.
Senior Jasmine Jacobs was 2-4 with an RBI on Monday’s 5-4 loss to the Vikings
The Vikings added an insurance run in the bottom of the fifth inning before the Lady Braves battled back for two runs in the top of the sixth.
RBI base hits by senior Jasmine Jacobs and Anna Shelnutt closed the gap to just a run but the Lady Braves would not be able to score again despite a noisy top of the seventh. Senior Shelby O’Neal had three hits on the day. Mckenzie Peace struck out nine in the win for the Vikings.
“To leave ten runners on against a team of that caliber — it is probably not going to work out in your favor, however we were right there,” said coach Matt Hornsby after the game.
“We schedule good teams like Northgate in hopes that they can expose our weaknesses and let us know where we are at. It is tough losing to them by one run for the second year in a row.”
Hornsby thinks playing a difficult top caliber schedule this season will help his team to prepare for the state tournament. The Lady Braves are facing a grueling schedule during this last week of the regular season, facing teams every day this week including four tough opponents.
After a region home match-up Tuesday with Jordan, the team will take on Pike County (3-A) at home Wednesday and then face Central-Carrollton (3-A) Thursday for Senior Day before closing out the regular season at Newnan (6-A) on Friday.
Thursday’s Senior Day tilt with Central looks to be especially interesting. The Lions roll into the game with a 22-2 record on the season, with the only two losses coming at the hands of the Lady Braves. All games this week start at 5:30.
The region tournament takes place for the Lady Braves (18-3) in Franklin on Saturday, October 12.