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Pitching, defense keys for South Forsyth softball in state championships
SF EHarris web
South Forsyth's Emily Harris and the Lady War Eagles have been swinging hot bats throughout the state playoffs, but South's chances of surviving in the GHSA Softball Championships this week will depend on their pitching and defense. - photo by Micah Green

South Forsyth softball got revenge over Brookwood, which defeated the Lady War Eagles in three games to advance to Columbus for the championship bracket last season, on August 15 in an 8-3 win. However, South still has unfinished business.

That’s because the early-season victory over the Lady Broncos was missing a piece of the equation—the presence of senior pitcher Amanda Ablan on the mound. Ablan, committed to play at the University of Georgia, shut down South’s bats last season to preserve the series win.

On Thursday in Columbus, South will have to face Ablan again in the first round of the double-elimination tournament. To advance past Brookwood, South head coach Ronnie Davis thinks his team will have to match or outplay Ablan and the players behind her.

“I think the biggest difference playing them this time versus the last time is we’ve been in big ball games, tested throughout the year, I think our kids are ready and any time a team beats you like that you get a bitter taste in your mouth,” Davis said.

He still remembers last year’s final game against Brookwood game vividly.

“Our biggest thing is getting a good pitching performance and playing solid defense,” Davis said. “Last season we lost 2-1, threw a two-hitter, did not walk a batter, did not hit a batter, their two hits didn’t even come in the same inning, nor did it come in an inning when they scored. We still lost.”

South (21-3, 16-1), ranked No. 9 in Class AAAAAA by, will look to match Ablan with the arm of Katherine Huey, a junior commit to Purdue who is coming off a performance of 12 strikeouts in a sweep of Newnan in the second round. The Lady War Eagles also didn’t score at a huge clip last season against Brookwood (24-10, 7-2) but hopes the bats are coming in hot after recording 28 hits and six homeruns in Thursday’s victory.

“We’ve told our players that they belong there, they are just as good as any other team down there, and as many years back as I can remember there’s never a clear shot winner,” Davis said. “There are a lot of teams down there that are going to be good. You’re going to have to play well in order to win and that’s what you should be doing this time of the year.”

What: GHSA Softball Championship (double-elimination tournament)

When: Thursday-Saturday

Where: South Commons Softball Complex, Columbus