The Bryan County softball team finished its season the same way it went through the season — under less than ideal circumstances.
The Redskins dropped a doubleheader Wednesday at Harlem, 7-1 and 8-0, in the first round of bracket play for the GHSA state tournament. Those games came on the heels of a 4-0 loss to Jeff Davis to determine Region 2-AA seedingTuesday that had been postponed due to Hurricane Matthew.
“We just weren’t in softball mode,” Coach Al Butler said. “It’s no one’s fault, it just is what it is.”
Heading into Tuesday’s game, the Redskins were still missing two players whose families had not returned from evacuating yet, and Butler said half the team still did not have electricity at their homes.
“It was a different kind of year,” Butler added. “We had our backs against the wall but pulled through. A lot of people weren’t expecting these girls to even make the state tournament.”
Injuries plagued the Redskins early in the season, but they were able to finish the season with five consecutive wins, then pulled out a dramatic series win against Metter in the first round of the region tournament, earning a must-win in game two 9-7 after falling behind 7-0 and winning the “if necessary” game 11-10 in eight innings.
“They never gave up, that’s what’s important,” Butler said.
Bryan County loses four seniors, including outfielders Alyssa Edwards, Brianna Campbell and Alayna Williams, plus shortstop Julianne Brown. Notable returning players include pitcher Shelby Barfield, who has verbally committed to play for Georgia Southern, and Kelsey Leggett.
“We have some good JV players and some good middle school players coming up next year,” Butler said. “But you can’t replace four quality seniors like that.
“We’ll still be young with only a couple of seniors next year, but we’ll have some experience,” Butler added. “I told the girls even if they played well in a certain position this year, that may have to change next year based on what is best for the team.”