The Banks County Leopards’ march to Columbus didn’t hit a speed bump during the first round of the Class AA state tournament.
Instead, the Leopards upped the speed limit to Columbus by scoring 55 runs in a two-game sweep of KIPP. The Leopards will host the winner of the Bacon County-Jefferson County series in the Sweet 16.
The Leopards (26-3) won 30-0 and 25-0, respectively, Tuesday night over KIPP.
“It’s exciting,” head coach Kelby Cronic said. “Anytime you can move on in the state playoffs, it’s always good, but you’ve always got to keep in mind that every round is going to get a little bit harder. I don’t foresee 30-0 the next round … Playing a game like that, it’s good and bad.
“Yeah, you get to play, but you’re not seeing good competition, unfortunately. Now, we’ve got to get back in the right mindset of we’re playing tougher teams next week, and we can’t expect it that we’re going to blow people out of the water. I’m expecting a pretty good game next week.”
In Game 1, the Leopards scored 16 runs in the first inning, followed by 14 runs in the second inning. The game ended after the top of the third.
The Leopards amassed 18 hits. Brookely Lewis led the charge with three hits, two of which were home runs: an inside-the-park dinger in the first inning and a solo shot over left-center in the second inning. She had six RBIs.
Jill Martinet and Tybee Denton each hit a home run in the win. They also had two hits apiece. Six players had multi-hit games.
In Game 2, the Leopards scored 17 runs in the first inning and didn’t look back. In the first inning alone, Kylee Brooks and Lindsey Crawford had three RBIs apiece. Madison Cronic and Jodie Hood had two RBIs apiece.
“I give credit to KIPP for coming out there and having a great attitude, you know, wanting to play ball,” Cronic said. “I know for them it was a chance to be in the state playoffs. That was big for them.”