MONTICELLO, Ga. — It was another successful playoff series for the Piedmont Academy fast-pitch softball team on Saturday.
The Lady Cougars swept visiting Brentwood 4-3 and 3-2 to advance to the GISA Class AA state championship series later this week. Piedmont (16-4) overall will face Southwest Georgia in a best-of-three series beginning Thursday in Dublin.
“We are excited to get a chance to play for a state championship,” coach Joe Johnson said. “Our cardiac kids find a way to win. They have a lot of heart.”
After narrowly winning game one Saturday, the Lady Cougars took an early 2-0 lead in the first inning of game two and added a run in the fourth and one more in the sixth.
Brentwood got on the board with two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning (the Lady Eagles were the designated home team in game two) and one more in the seventh. In the end, Piedmont held on despite several defensive miscues in the contest.
Marissa Holder and Fleming Sealy both had hits to help clinch the series while Teagan Hinson drove in two runs. Maddie Waddleton and Holder both had an RBI and Emily McEwen drew a walk.
McEwen went the distance and recorded two strikeouts.
In game one Saturday morning, the Lady Cougars once again took a one-run win despite five errors. Piedmont led 1-0 until Brentwood tied the game in the top of the third.
The Lady Eagles moved in front 2-1 in the top of the fifth before the Lady Cougars tied the game in the bottom half of the inning. Piedmont scored the game-winning run in the bottom of the fifth.
Hinson had two hits and drove in two runs while Teagan Satterfield had an RBI.
Averi Camp pitched all seven innings and recorded five strikeouts.
Piedmont will now face Southwest Georgia for the championship beginning Thursday at 5 p.m. The series continues Saturday at 1 p.m. with a third game, if necessary, also Saturday afternoon.
The Lady Warriors of Damascus and the Lady Cougars are the top two seeds in the tournament. Southwest Georgia’s lone loss this season was to Piedmont on Sept. 28 by a 6-3 score. The Lady Warriors are 20-1 overall and on a 13-game winning streak.
Southwest Georgia swept Briarwood in the other GISA Class AA semifinal series 3-1 and 5-2.
“We hope we can give them two more losses,” Johnson said.
The Lady Cougars will prepare this week for what they hope is another state championship for the program.
Junior shortstop Abby Arnold said she is eager to compete for the championship.
“It feels amazing to know that our hard work as a team has paid off and we have earned a repeat appearance in the championship,” Arnold said. “This is especially true after we lost so much talent to our senior class last year. We really came together as a group and I wouldn’t want to play these last few games with any other group of girls.”
Arnold said the Lady Cougars simply need to play their game and stay focused.
“We have practiced and put in the work,” she said. “The only thing I think we need to do differently in this series is to adjust faster in the batter’s box. We have such a talented and hard-working group of girls and we work really well together.”
Senior first baseman Maddie Waddleton said it is a great feeling to once again advance this far during the season.
“I think we just need to keep playing as a team to win the series,” Waddleton said.
Junior Emily McEwen, who pitches and plays in the outfield, said it’s rewarding to see the team’s hard work pay off.
“I am so proud of my teammates for working together and making it this far,” McEwen said. “I think the team just needs to give all of their effort this week at practice and really focus in on playing well.”