The Piedmont Academy Lady Cougars are still the King of the Mountain for GISA Class AA fast-pitch softball.
Or perhaps that should be the Queen of the Mountain.
Piedmont rallied in its best-of-three series against Southwest Georgia last week to win another state championship trophy. The Lady Cougars lost game one last Thursday 5-2 but then swept the Lady Warriors 7-3 and 11-9 on Saturday.
“As a senior, there was no better way to end my softball career than with a state title,” said Maddie Waddleton. “I’m so thankful for my team, coaches and fans for making my last softball season the best yet. It’s an honor to win a state championship, and doing it back-to-back is something special. along with a winning a state championship, my awesome teammates definitely made my senior season one to remember.”
The championship will be one players and coaches remember for a long time.
“What a roller coast ride,” Coach Joe Johnson said. “We had been fighting for our lives since game one in the first round. I’ve said it a few times this year but this team finds a way to win. They don’t know how to give up. I am extremely proud of the girls and the coaches for all the work that was put in to get here.”
In the third and deciding game of the championship series, Piedmont pounded out 15 hits to survive Southwest Georgia. The Lady Cougars scored one run in the second, two in the fourth, two in the fifth, one in the sixth and then five more runs in the top of the seventh.
The Lady Warriors scored their first run in the bottom of the first followed by two in the fifth, three more in the sixth and three in the bottom of the seventh but would finish two runs short.
Marissa Holder and Fleming Sealy helped lead a solid offensive attack with three hits each while Emily McEwen drove in four runs. Sealy also had three RBI including a key one late in the contest.
Teagan Satterfield, MaKayla Arnold and Holder each drew walks.
Averi Camp worked 5-2/3 innings before Ewing closed out the contest. Camp had two strikeouts while McEwen had one.
Johnson’s team tied the series with a 7-3 win in game two Saturday evening. Holder, McEwing and Kylee Keck had multiple hits while Holder drove in two runs.
Teagan Hinson, Arnold and McEwen each drew walks.
In the pitcher’s circle, Camp went all seven innings with four strikeouts.
Southwest Georgia opened the series with a 5-2 victory last Thursday. Four runs in the bottom of the sixth inning proved to be the difference.
Keck had two hits while McKayla Arnold and Abby Arnold each drew walks.
McEwen pitched six solid innings for the Lady Cougars.
Piedmont (18-5 overall) is now a repeat champion. The Lady Warriors of Southwest Georgia finished the season 21-3 overall with all three defeats coming to the Lady Cougars.
“Looking at the stats, the teams were pretty even on paper,” Johnson said. “We had to see who would make the least amount of mistakes. The opening game was 1-1 until the sixth inning. They were able to get a few hits and we couldn’t get out of that inning. By the time the smoke cleared we were down 5-1. We were only able to get one back in the seventh.”
Southwest Georgia entered the tournament as the number one seed despite losing a head-to-head matchup with Piedmont. The Lady Cougars were determined to be the number two seeded team for the state tournament.
“Winning the state title back-to back for the first time in Piedmont softball history is the greatest honor,” said McEwen. “I am so proud of my team because of all of our hard work. I am also so glad our team could give our seniors a season to remember. After losing the first state championship game I was upset, but deep down I had faith in my team and knew we still had a chance and Saturday afternoon we did just that. We worked together and played with all of our hearts and won the state title. I couldn’t be prouder and would not wish to do it with any other group of girls. I love my team so much and the family that we have made.”
The Lady Cougars made the necessary adjustments for Saturday.
“By the time the third game of the series began, we had a lot of tired kids,” Johnson said. “But they gave everything they had to win another state title. There was some great defense by both teams. For us to get our second state championship in a row, I couldn’t be happier to be a part of this program. We have received a lot of support from the school and our players’ families. We look forward to doing it again next year.”
Johnson is assisted with the program by Lamar Bradford, Ron Holder and Matt Britt.