The Apalachee High School softball team entered its game Tuesday, Sept. 24, against county and region rival Winder-Barrow on a mission.
That mission was accomplished in resounding fashion as the Wildcats crushed the host Bulldoggs 15-2 to secure second place in GHSA Region 8-AAAAAA.
AHS (13-8-1, 10-3 region) scored four runs in the top of the first inning before adding eight more in the second.
The game was called after four innings on the mercy rule as WBHS slipped to 7-15 overall and 5-8 in region play.
Emily Hodnett earned the win for coach Allan Bailey’s team. She surrendered two runs in the bottom of the third but the outcome of the contest had already been determined.
“It was a great win,” said Bailey, who is in his first season coaching the Wildcats while continuing to serve as the school’s head baseball coach as well. “We played with a lot of energy and our bats were on fire.”
AHS sent eight batters to the plate in the first and 12 in the second.
“It was good to see us come out and play this way,” Bailey said. “Hopefully we are peaking at the right time.”
While the Wildcats secured second place in the region with Tuesday’s victory, Bailey said it is not possible to overtake Dacula for first. The Falcons, who play against AHS on Oct. 1, have already defeated the Wildcats twice and are currently undefeated in the region.
“Our goal is to make it to Columbus,” Bailey said. “That has been our goal since I began coaching the program in February. We have played a tough non-region schedule and I think that has paid off.”
Madyson Coe’s leadoff triple for Apalachee on Tuesday was a sign of things to come. Tiara Wingfield, Destiny Sexton, Katelyn Flanders, S’Nyiah Stinson, Alexis Griffith, Morgan Reynolds and Hodnett also contributed to the big offensive performance.
Bailey said the 2019 AHS team is young. Four freshmen were in the lineup during Tuesday’s game against WBHS.
“We have a lot of depth,” Bailey said. “When you have 12 quality players you can put on the field at any time then it really helps your chances of being successful.”
Bekah Freeman had two RBIs for WBHS. Bailey Boswell had two hits for the Lady Bulldoggs. Rachel Harwell also had a single.
AHS will host Habersham Central Thursday, Sept. 26, at 5:30 p.m. for senior night before facing Dacula on the road Tuesday, Oct. 1, also at 5:30 p.m.
Winder-Barrow will travel to Gainesville on Thursday and to Habersham Central Tuesday for 5:30 p.m. region contests to wrap up the regular season. The Bulldoggs have clinched a playoff spot and are currently in fourth place in the region. They have a chance to finish third if they win their final two region games and Habersham loses its final two.