The Bryan County Lady Redskins didn’t exactly ease into the start of the softball season, hosting Region 2-AA foe and 2014 state semifinalist Jeff Davis in their opening game Tuesday.
After falling behind early, the Lady Redskins took the lead for good in the third inning and pulled away for an 8-3 win over a team that had swept all four of their meetings the past two seasons.
“It’s a big win for us,” BCHS head coach Al Butler said. “I told the girls this wasn’t so much a must-win situation to do well in the region, it was more of a must-win situation to see where we are confidence-wise and ready to take on our season.”
Brooke Barfield pitched a complete game and finished 3-for-4 at the plate with a run batted in and a run scored. Her RBI single sparked a three-run third inning that erased a 2-0 Jeff Davis lead.
Fellow senior Kaylin Leggett also scored a run and had three hits, including an RBI single in the fourth to extend the Lady Redskins’ lead to 4-2. Layton Harrell added two hits, and Shelby Barfield and Alyssa Edwards each scored twice as BCHS opened the season at 1-0 overall and in Region 2-AA.
“I like the game that we put on today,” Butler said. “I think that we’ll build off of this. This is a very special group of girls. The sky’s the limit.”
Edwards reached on an error to lead off the bottom of the third inning, and Leggett and Shelby Barfield followed with singles to load the bases with no outs. A wild pitch brought home Edwards with the Lady Redskins’ first run.
Brooke Barfield singled to right field to drive in Leggett with the tying run. Shelby Barfield got caught in a rundown between third base and home plate on the play, but beat the throw home to put Bryan County ahead.
One inning later, MacKenzie Miller beat out an infield hit, took second on an error, went to third on a wild pitch and scored on Leggett’s two-out single to center field.
Jeff Davis closed the gap to 4-3 with a run in the top of the fifth, but the Lady Redskins answered with two in their half of the inning. After Brooke Barfield and Layton Harrell hit back-to-back singles, Barfield scored when Taylor Roop reached on an error and Harrell came home on Julianne Brown’s single to left.
Bryan County tacked on two insurance runs in the sixth. Edwards walked and scored on an error, and Shelby Barfield walked and scored the game’s final run on Roop’s sacrifice fly.
“I was really impressed after the second inning,” Butler said. “The girls woke up, and then it was on.”
Brooke Barfield allowed five hits through the first two innings, but held Jeff Davis to only five more over the final five frames. She gave up three runs, two of them earned, while striking out three batters, walking one and hitting one.
“She’s more focused on every pitch this year than I’ve ever seen her,” Butler said. “Just the way she goes about everything this year is just on a more mature, self-disciplined level. I’m really proud of her.”
Bryan County will play at Long County on Thursday at 5 p.m. and in the Tattnall County Tournament this weekend. The Lady Redskins will play two games in Glennville on Friday and three more on Saturday.