October 28, 2020

Softball Team Facing Adversity

(Franklin) — The Lady Braves softball team seemed unstoppable just two weeks ago after coming back to knock off a strong Newnan Cougar squad from the highest classification in the state.

The Lady Braves were sporting a No. 1 ranking and an 18-game winning streak. Since then they have faced some of their most difficult challenges including not only some of the best teams in the state on the field, but recent injuries to three starters.

On Saturday, Coach Matt Hornsby’s short-handed squad traveled to Kennesaw State University for a battle with one of the best teams in the country for the past several seasons, the Buford Lady Wolves, winners of an unprecedented eight straight state championships.

Senior pitcher Jordan Watson was not in uniform versus the Wolves due to a shoulder injury and is awaiting an MRI this week to determine just how many starts she might miss.

Senior catcher Anna Shelnutt was in uniform and played Saturday, although clearly hobbled by a severe ankle injury.

As if those two weren’t already enough, junior second baseman Taylor Storey suffered a broken wrist in the top of the first inning Saturday when a Buford runner collided with her while she covered first base on a throw.

Another senior Lady Brave, Sarah Schofield, took the mound and pitched well against the Wolves tossing all seven innings in the 8-2 loss to the Wolves.

“Sarah pitched awesome today,” said Hornsby after Saturday’s game. “You talk about bloops here and there — they had more soft balls land than they had hard hit balls — that is just a testament to how good Sarah pitched. She was finding the ends off their bats a lot more than they expected.”

“Offensively, we didn’t have good at bats early against their pitcher, but I thought we did a lot better job of making adjustments later in the game which gave us a lot more chances to score,” said Hornsby.

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The Lady Braves on two occasions had runners on with two outs and hit balls hard but right at the defense. Ally Harris and Hannah Sanders both hit line drive shots right at Buford outfielders to end innings.

Johanna Beyer continued to be a near impossible out for opponents reaching base all four times Saturday including two singles and an RBI.

Hornsby hopes to have Watson back as soon as possible as the season progresses towards region.

“Jordan has still got some tendonitis in her shoulder and we are going to send her for an MRI this week — we are just hoping she can come back sooner rather than later,” said Hornsby.

The Braves suffered another crucial loss to injury when starting second baseman Taylor Storey was involved in a collision while covering first base on a first inning bunt.

The Lady Braves lost three of four at last weekend’s Allatoona tournament defeating Ridgeland 5-1 and losing to Cherokee 1-0, River Ridge 3-1, and state power Calhoun 14-4.

Hannah Sanders had a break-out tourney at the plate blasting three homers. Shelnutt also launched her fourth bomb of the season.

The girls will be back in action this week, traveling to East Coweta on Wednesday (6:00/after JV),  and they will then compete in the Carrollton Tournament on Friday and Saturday.



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