STATE CHAMPIONS: Members of the state champion Bainbridge Heat are: bottom row, left to right, Desirae Beachem, Bree Powell, McKynleigh Harrell and Mabry-Grace Briggs; middle row, left to right, Anna Beth Bibby, Lauren Howard, CT Jones and MaKayla Hamilton; back row, left to right, coach Wes Briggs, Thyra Jackson, Callie Strickland and coach Greg Harrell.
STATE CHAMPIONS: Members of the state champion Bainbridge Heat are: bottom row, left to right, Desirae Beachem, Bree Powell, McKynleigh Harrell and Mabry-Grace Briggs; middle row, left to right, Anna Beth Bibby, Lauren Howard, CT Jones and MaKayla Hamilton; back row, left to right, coach Wes Briggs, Thyra Jackson, Callie Strickland and coach Greg Harrell.
 

‘Bainbridge Heat’ wins state championship

Published 12:30pm Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Special to The Post-Searchlight

The Bainbridge Heat 12-and-under softball team made history Saturday, July 13, winning the state title in the Georgia Recreation and Park Association (GRPA) “Midget” League, Class A/B, in Dublin, Ga. The Heat went 5-0 at the tournament, including one win by forfeit.

Bainbridge held Colquitt County, a fellow District 3 team, to one run in the state championship game.

The journey to a state title began in Thomasville, Ga., with the District 3 tournament at the end of June.

The first game was on a Saturday, where Bainbridge fell to Colquitt County, despite Mabry-Grace Briggs hitting a home run on the first pitch of the game. The loss pushed the girls into the losers’ bracket, but the Heat managed to rebound in a big way.

Bainbridge won the second game of the day against Worth County. The team returned to Thomasville on Monday, where they played against Lee County and picked up a victory. Tuesday’s games were rained out, which led to the Bainbridge Heat playing three games back-to-back-to-back on Wednesday.

McKynleigh Harrell pitched all three of those games, while Bree Powell played catcher in two and Anna Beth Bibby was the catcher in one. During these three games, the Heat only allowed three runs. The girls’ bats also came to life, which allowed them to post 50 runs in the three games combined. The last two of those games were played against Colquitt County, which had beaten Bainbridge in the opener. The Heat had to beat Colquitt County twice in a row in order to win the district championship, and they did so in impressive fashion. In the championship game, the Heat won by the mercy-run rule.

On July 10, the Heat traveled to Dublin to compete in the GRPA state championship tournament. The team won the first game, due to a forfeit by Union Springs.

The second game was played against Augusta on Thursday, and the Heat won 14-0. On Friday, the girls played Colquitt County and once again came out on top. That night, the Heat went up against Wayne County in a hard-fought game. Bainbridge was down by a run and was up for its last at bat.

Third baseman Desirae Beachem was on third base with two outs. Beachem performed a delayed steal while Callie Strickland was patient at the plate, even though she had two strikes. This brought in the tying run. Mabry-Grace Briggs came up to bat and hit a single. McKynleigh Harrell came up to bat, hit a double and scored both Briggs and Thyra Jackson, who was pinch running for Strickland. Ultimately, the Heat won the game, 5-3.

During the championship game Saturday, both teams arguably displayed great sportsmanship and Christian character. At the end of the championship game, both teams encircled the mound and prayed together.

Coaches for the team said that the Bainbridge Heat made precious memories by winning a state championship and making history for the city of Bainbridge. They said the team truly appreciates the support and pride that the community has expressed.

The team is comprised of: Greg Harrell and Wes Briggs; coaches; McKynleigh Harrell, pitcher and catcher; Bree Powell, pitcher and catcher; Lauren Howard, first base; MaKayla Hamilton, second base; Anna Beth Bibby, shortstop and catcher; Desirae Beachem, third base; Mabry-Grace Briggs, centerfield; CT Jones, right field; Thyra Jackson, left field; and Callie Strickland, left field.

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