Lady Cats end season at No. 2, begin playoffs next Tuesday

Published 9:49 pm Friday, October 3, 2014

Coach Amy Thomas’s Bainbridge High School Lady Cats softball team nailed down second place in Region 1-AAAA with a doubleheader shutout sweep over the Westover High School Lady Patriots and Albany High School Lady Indians Tuesday in Albany.

They blanked the home standing Lady Patriots 12-0 in the opener and blanked the Lady Indians 10-0 in a make up of an earlier home rain out in the nightcap.

The Lady Cats, Crisp County High School Lady Cougars and Worth County High School Lady Rams finished the regular season tied for second place with identical 8-2 Region 1-AAAA records.

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The Thomas County Central High School Lady Yellow Jackets, who did not lose a Region 1-AAAA  game, are the regular season champions.  The Lady Cats, who were 17-5 overall in the regular season, were awarded second place by virtue of a three-way tiebreaker system. Since they gave up just four combined runs in regular season games with Crisp County and Worth County, and the other two teams each gave up more runs to them, they earned second place.

The Lady Cats will begin playoff play with a 5:30 p.m. Tuesday game against the Monroe High School Lady Tornadoes in Albany. They will also play at 7:30 p.m. against a yet-to-be determined opponent.

Coach Thomas said that she could not be more pleased with her team’s performance against Westover and Albany Tuesday and throughout the season.

“We hustled, played solid defense and came up with big hits at key times,” she said.

The Lady Cats put Tuesday’s Westover win away early, plating all 12 runs in the first three innings.  They scored seven in the first, two in the second and three in the third.

Key hits in the first inning were a two-run double by Tori Sprenkle and RBI singles by Taylor Swanner, Haley Thompson and Reilly Fletcher.

The Lady Cats also took command of their Tuesday game with the Lady Indians early. They jumped out to a 4-0 first-inning lead. The four-run rally was highlighted by an RBI single by catcher Morgan Cannon and a two-run double by Taylor Swanner.

Three of the Lady Cats top senior performers this season talked about the keys to the team’s great success.

Pitcher Brooke Bates, who hurled all of the big games, said she thought the movement on her pitches kept opposing batters off stride.

“I have a pretty good fast ball and curve, but my drop pitch is usually my out pitch,” Bates said. “When I throw it, I turn my hand to the right and release it with a downward ark.”

Catcher Morgan Cannon said she thinks the family atmosphere among the players was instrumental in the team’s successful season.

“We pulled for each other game in and game out,” Cannon said. “We constantly cheered for and encouraged each other.”

First baseman Tori Sprenkle said playing so well in the season opening tournament in Thomasville gave the team a lot of confidence.

“After we played so well in Thomasville, we kind of got together and said, ‘Hey we can do this,’” Sprenkle said.