The Bryan County Ladyskins made the long trek to Columbus last week to play in the Elite Eight Tournament held at the South Commons Recreation Department. The Ladyskins joined three other Class A softball teams from south Georgia - Savannah Country Day, Taylor County and Treutlen County - and four Class A teams from north Georgia - Gordon Lee, Jefferson, Eagles Landing Christian Acadamy and Georgia Military.
The eight teams battled for the title of Georgia State Champion Class A High School Fast Pitch Softball.
The Ladyskins were honored as they left Wednesday afternoon from the BCHS gym in a wet but jubilant send off. BCHS students and faculty, accompanied by the BCHS band members (who provided celebration music) and cheerleaders bided their team farewell. Many parents were on hand to enjoy the celebration.
The BCHS coaches spent the early part of Thursday giving their team practice time and a chance to familiarize themselves with the fields they would soon be playing on. At 4 pm Thursday, the BCHS Ladyskins met their rival Gordon Lee High School from Chickamauga and lost 7-3.
Ashley Barfield took the mound for the Skins while Jonia Taylor took the mound for Gordon Lee. A coin toss left the Ladyskins with first at bat which put lead off batter Ashley Barfield at the plate. A walk by Barfield was a hopeful sign of things to come, but three straight strike outs ended the first inning for the Skins with no runs recorded. Strike outs seated the next five Skins and as the fourth inning began, the chances to take control of the game were slowly fading away. Samantha Howard gave the Redskins fans their brightest moment of the game when, with two outs, she drilled an over-the-fence homerun to finally but her team on the board with a single run.
Tara Miles followed Howard’s lead with a single but was left standing on first as the next Redskin struck out. In the later innings, the Skins were able to put the ball into play but the Gorden Lee defense would allow only two additional Redskin hits in the remainder of the game.
Miles, lead off batter in the seventh, nailed a ground ball single to center field and was followed on the bases by Meghan Shuman as she took the walk. Down by five runs the Skins needed base runners and with one out on the board, Taylor Stanfield stepped up to bat driving the ball deep to center field for a clean double scoring Miles. Kayla Koskela, next at bat, given the hit sign, did as she was told and sent a sac fly ball to left field to score Shuman. But the rally was short lived and the Skins fell short of the still needed four runs it would take to catch Gordon Lee. The Skins took the loss while moving into the losers’ bracket. Gordon Lee’s 11 hits (including an over the fence home run in the third inning) against the Skins’ four hits was most certainly the largest determining factor in the error free game.
With Savannah Country Day losing their first game against Jefferson County the two Region 3A teams who had battled furiously for the Region 3A Championship were once again pitted against each other with the state title up for grabs. Once again the Skins lost the coin toss and went to their bats first as visitors. Finally able to connect with the ball, the Skins quickly went to work in the first inning but the SCD Hornet defense was ready and waiting to set the BCHS batters down scoreless. Katherine Dotson, pitcher for SCD and lead off batter, is known for her speed and quickness and for her slap butting with almost always successful results. Dotson came to the plate as lead off batter.
Three pitches later, Dotson found herself on first base after being hit by a pitch. She was moved onto second as her second batter Blake Stafford reached on an error. Two fly balls to the outfield advanced Dotson to third and onto home where she was met by Stafford on a wild pitch. The Redskins defense ended the inning after the two runs scored and before additional damage could be done. A single run for the Skins in the second inning would be made as Tara Miles reached on an error and was moved around to second on Meghan Shuman’s single. Rebecca Horton’s walk would load the bases for Kayla Koskela. Koskela hit a ground ball single and advanced Miles home.
But that would be the last runner to cross home plate for the Skins. SCD’s successful second and fifth inning would round out their score at six which would be more than enough for the win against the Skins. A 6-1 loss to SCD sent the Skins home.