South Forsyth’s softball team had a bittersweet ending to its season Friday at the Columbus Softball Complex in downtown Columbus, dropping games against Brookwood and East Coweta but earning a shutout victory over then-No. 1 ranked North Gwinnett.
South (22-5) defeated the Bulldogs Friday morning in the loser’s bracket of the double-elimination tournament, 2-0, thanks to two runs in the top of the sixth inning. Starting pitcher Katherine Huey pitched a shutout—the seventh shutout on the season for the Lady War Eagles.
After the win, South had to turn around and face East Coweta, eventually falling 6-3. South fell Friday to open the tournament in a 3-0 loss to Brookwood, which sent Amanda Ablan—a University of Georgia commit—to the mound. Ablan, who shut down South in last season’s state playoffs as well, finished with a perfect game.
“(Ablan) was the best player down there, period,” South head coach Ronnie Davis said. “There’s nobody would argue against that I don’t think.”
Mill Creek advanced to defeat Brookwood, 5-2, in Saturday’s state final for Class AAAAAA. Davis said his team learned a lot about being in a championship environment. All GHSA classes competed at the same complex, creating a rare atmosphere that he likened to a “circus.”
“Our kids weren’t overwhelmed by it at all,” Davis said. “I thought they competed well, they never once got down on themselves and part of that is the strength of the schedule that we create for them every single year. We control our non-region games and face the best out there. They know they have to come to play. They play on club teams with similar environments.”
Davis felt like his team left everything on the field and should be prepared to make another state run next year. This season’s finish was the second-farthest the Lady War Eagles have gone since Davis’ first year with the program in 2002 when they advanced to the final four.
Starting pitcher and Purdue commit Katherine Huey, catcher Bianca Mora and potent hitter Jordyn Harris all are set to return, along with a host of players, to the 2016 team.
He knows he will have the talent to compete next season, but Davis hopes his team grew mentally from the tournament.
“I told the kids before the tournament that it would test than mentally more it would physically,” Davis said. “People do their homework. They’re calling opposing coaches and trying to figure out what you do well and what you don’t do so well. People are going to try to exploit you, and at this stage in the game it’s all about adjustments.
“I think the biggest thing is our kids know they are pretty good when we play well. We harped on it all year. When we get good pitching and good defense we’re pretty difficult to beat.”