The Lady Redskin softball team have continued their hot streak this past week by sweeeping Claxton 8-0 at home Thursday before splitting victories at a tough statewide tournament this weekend.
If you are a softball fan, Statesboro was the place to be on Friday night and Saturday. Mill Creek Recreation Department held its seventh annual Fastpitch Softball Tournament, known as the "Battle in the Boro", hosted to high school softball teams throughout the state. The Bryan County Ladyskins joined other teams from as far away as McDonough, Georgia - The Ola Mustangs - and as close as South East Bulloch in Brooklet. The Ladyskins were the only team in the tournament from a single A ranked high school and were in the company of several five A schools, quite a few four A schools, a few three and two A schools
The Ladyskins faced neighboring Effingham County High Lady Rebels in their first meeting of the tournament. The Lady Rebels having won the coin toss took the field with Taylor Connell on the mound. Connell struck out the first two Ladyskin batters and forced the third into a pop up to fourth and continued the pattern into the fifth inning when the Ladyskins started the inning with a two run deficit. Samantha Howard, starting pitcher for the Ladyskins, took first on a walk ending the Rebels hopes for a perfect game. She was followed by Tara Miles whose line drive single to left field put two runners on and the tying run on first base. As time limit came and went, the Rebel pitcher struck out the next two Ladyskin batters but Taylor Stanfield would answer right back with a line drive single to left field that would get past the Rebel left fielder allowing Howard time to score. Miles’ attempt to take third was unsuccessful ending the game before the Redskins could tie the ballgame.
The Ladyskins would then face the 3AAA Cross Creek Razorbacks from Augusta. The ‘Skins once again lost the toss and came to the plate as visitors. But the Razorback pitcher made quick work of retiring the first three batters. Ashley Barfield took the mound for the ‘Skins and, on the first pitch to the first Razorback batter in the bottom of the first inning, was amazed to watch the ball be launched into deep left field for an in the park home run. The Razorbacks would finished the first inning having only scored three runs against the obviously flustered Redskins.
The Redskins returned to bat but couldn't seem to make any progress at the plate through the third inning. The Razorbacks would score another run in the third inning, enlarging the gap in the score. But the "never say die" attitude of the Ladyskins reared its head in the fourth inning as they regrouped and came together as a team. With one out on the board, senior Lindsay Seger slammed a line drive double to centerfield followed by a perfectly placed single down the right field line by Barfield for the RBI as Seger rounded third for the first Redskin run of the inning. Howard would continue the rally slamming a line drive single to right field putting two runners on the bases. Miles would follow with a single to left field that would allow Barfield and Howard to score and closing the score to only a one run difference.
A new Razorback pitcher was brought in in an attempt to slow the Redskin rally and she successfully closed the inning holding the single run lead. Barfield and the Ladyskin defense shut down the Razorbacks in the bottom of the fourth without allowing any additional runs and returned to bat. With one out on the board, freshman Bridgett Bacon’s bunt for a single would put the tying run on first base.
Seger’s fielder’s choice put two outs on the board and left her on first base. Barfield, left in the hot seat, launched a fly ball single to centerfield. As the Razorback centerfield failed to field the ball cleanly, Seger would advance to third to put the tying run within feet of home plate. A passed ball missed by the Razorback catcher was all Seger and Barfield needed to tie the game and put Barfield as the go ahead run on third base. Howard’s line drive to right field would allow Barfield to score for the RBI and the one run lead. That lead would hold to give the Ladyskins the win of 5-4.
Saturday morning, the Ladyskins returned to Statesboro to face the Woodland Wildcats, a 5AAAA school from Cartersville with a 9-2 current overall record. Once again the Redskins took the visitor position and came to bat. Senior Seger’s fly ball to shallow right field would be the only hit as the Wildcat pitcher struck out the remaining batters of the inning and the next.
The Ladyskins never managed to solidly hit against the Wildcat pitcher or get anything past the Wildcat defense and were shut down in the seventh inning with only the single hit and a 0-5 loss.
Next up, they faced Valdosta High School, a 1AAAAA ranked school. Valdosta would take the early lead in the first inning with one run. The Redskins returned in the second to tie the score as Howard would reach first on an error and advance to second on a wild pitch. Miles' single to the Valdosta infield would put two runners on and an error by the Valdosta shortstop on Senior Meghan Shuman would allow the Redskins to load the bases with no outs.
Stanfield would come to bat and record an RBI hitting a single to the Valdosta infield that allowed Howard to cross home but that would end the Redskins scoring leaving the bases loaded to close the inning tied. A homerun by the lead off batter of the third inning would once again give the Valdosta team the lead but Ashley Barfield would come to bat and reach second base on an error and would later steal third and would score on a throwing error, keeping the game tied 2-2. Valdosta would break loose in the sixth inning scoring four runs and ending the Redskins’ hopes for a win.
Groves High School of Garden City would be the Redskins final competition of the tournament. Groves, ranked as a 3AAAAA school, batted first and took the lead. Howard would start the game for the Redskins but would be replaced in the last third of the first inning by Barfield who finished the game.
With the Redskin lineup switched around, freshman Bridgett Bacon would slam a line drive single to right field and would score on Howard’s fly ball double to centerfield giving her the RBI. The Redskins returned in the second inning down two runs. With two outs on the board, Stanfield took a hit by a pitched ball to reach first base and freshman Kayla Koskela would not waste the runner by hitting a fly ball that the Rebel left fielder failed to handle, giving Stanfield the opportunity to round second and third for the score. Koskela would score on a line drive single by Barfield tying the score. Barfield advanced to second on a passed ball and later stole third as Seger allowed four straight balls to pass across home plate giving her the walk.
With the scored tied and two Redskin runners on, the Ladyskins were unable to extend their score before ending the third inning. Sophomore Rebecca Horton would return to bat and reach first base on a ground ball single. Taylor Stanfield’s sac bunt would advance Horton to second. Horton took third on a error by the Rebel defense and crossed the plate on a throwing error by the Rebel first baseman. That would be all the Redskins needed to take the win giving them a third place finish in the bronze bracket.
The Redskins travel to Twin City to face ECI in a region matchup on Tuesday and return home on Thursday to face Calvary. Both games will be at 4:30 p.m.