(Franklin, GA) — The Lady Braves celebrated Senior Night with a very important 5-3 win over visiting Bremen at Heard High Tuesday.
The hard-fought victory over the arch rival Blue Devils earned the Lady Braves the top seed and home field advantage in next week’s Region 5-AA tournament which will also determine the final state playoff seeds four Region 5-AA’s top four teams.
Fittingly, the senior Lady Braves played a big part in Tuesday’s win. No. 1 pitcher Katelyn Jiles went the distance in the circle, battling back from an early 2-0 deficit after a Blue Devil homer in the top of the second inning. Jiles tossed seven innings while scattering seven hits and walking just two to improve her season record to 11-4.
Other seniors with strong efforts included Brittany Graley who was the only Lady Brave with multiple hits including a double, Tori Caldwell with a hit, a run scored, and a stolen base, and Hannah Holden who walked, scored a run and had a steal along with a diving catch to rob a base hit from the Devils in the first inning.
The biggest hit of the game came from sophomore Abigail Lathrop with two outs in the bottom of the third to drive home two after the Devils had intentionally walked catcher Mackenzie White earlier in the inning.
White, Beth Taylor, and Emma Helton also had base hits in the game and Janiyah Strong had an RBI.
Head coach Matt Hornby was pleased to see his squad respond to the pressure of a game carrying such significance to the post-season.
“That was a big win for us. We had played really well throughout August and early September but we had lost some games here recently that we shouldn’t have and those losses were due to our own play and nothing the other teams were doing,” said Hornsby.
“So it was good to see us bounce back — our offense did the job we had to do at the plate so that when they (Bremen) have the top of the line-up batting there in the seventh we were able to pitch to them.”
Hornsby says the win was most important because his team like to play in front of the home crowd at HCHS.
“It is a huge benefit to us to play here in Franklin because our fans always show up and support us so well. With it being fall break next week, I have no doubt we will have a lot of fans out supporting us at noon Thursday when we take on Callaway.”
The coach was also complimentary of his only senior that did not see action in Tuesday’s game, No. 2 pitcher Caroline Jones.
“I have give a big shout out to Caroline Jones here on senior night. We had plans to get her in the game but Katelyn was throwing so well and hitting her spots so even though it wasn’t our plan, we didn’t think we could take Katelyn out in that situation,” Hornsby said.
“Caroline is literally one of the best teammates we’ve had come through our program and she was just over there selflessly cheering her and not saying a word. She didn’t have a problem with not getting the playing time right there because in her mind and like so many of our girls it is all about the team and not just about themselves.”
Jones had her own memorable moment on Monday as she tossed a three inning no-hitter versus Jordan in a doubleheader sweep at Columbus Monday night. She will also be in the circle today as the Lady Braves host Class AAAAAAA No. 1 East Coweta (6:00 PM). The team hosts Central of Carrollton tomorrow to close out the regular season (5:30 PM).
The Region 5-AA tournament will take place next Thursday, October 3 at HCHS beginning at noon. In game one, the region’s No. 1 seeded Lady Braves will take on No. 4 Callaway and at 2:00 PM No. 2 Bremen will face No. 3 Lamar County. The losers of those two games will meet at 4:00 PM to determine the region’s No. 3 state playoff seed and then at 6:00 PM the winners will meet in the Region 5-AA Championship game.