There's a good reason why the Eastside varsity softball went 25-10-1 this season, and her name is Brandi Richards.
Richards, a senior, dominated this year for the Lady Eagles in all aspects of the game - hitting, fielding and pitching.
"She stands out among other athletes based on her versatility," said Eastside head coach Heather Wood. "I could put her at any position and know that she would do a great job for us."
Based on her stupendous performance throughout the entire season, Richards has been selected as Player of the Year for the 2007 All-County Team.
On the mound, batters dreaded entering the box against Richards, who led the Lady Eagles with a 12-2 record in 17 games, including an astounding 1.46 earned run average. She also had eight complete games, including three shutouts.
Using her electric stuff, Richards had 191 strikeouts compared to 61 walks in 96 innings pitched. In addition, opposing hitters batted just .115 against the flamethrower.
In just the third game of the season, Richards struck out 15 in a 4-0 win against Evans. The following week she fanned even more batters - 17 to be exact - in a 1-0 complete game shutout over Loganville.
When she wasn't pitching, Richards took care of business at first base, holding a solid .989 fielding percentage.
"Brandi has done so much for the team this year because she is an outstanding athlete," said Wood. "She not only did well for us pitching, but she also helped carry our team offensively."
On that same note, she was just as productive with the aluminum. Richards batted .363 with 19 RBIs and 19 runs scored. In addition, she had 11 doubles, two triples and a .527 slugging percentage.
Earlier this year, Richards signed a softball scholarship with Auburn University Montgomery.
"She will be missed next year, but I know she will be successful at the college level," said Wood. "She stepped up for us in many situations this season and provided leadership for her teammates.
"I am thankful that Eastside was able to have an athlete like her for four years," added Wood, "and I appreciate everything she has done for our program."
Rounding out the 2007 All-County Softball Team was four players representing Alcovy, five from Eastside and five from Newton (see box).