Local News

November 2, 2013

Lady Bruins state champs

COLUMBUS — Last year, a home run was the lingering memory from Northwest Whitfield’s softball state title victory.

This year, a simple grounder to senior third baseman Mallory Souther provided the final out as the Lady Bruins repeated as the Georgia High School Association’s Class 4A champions.

The contrast of those plays — and the similarity of the celebrations that followed — was proof that no matter how it happens, being the best always feels great.

Northwest lost 6-4 to Heritage-Catoosa in the championship round Saturday at the South Commons Softball Complex, but because the Lady Bruins had advanced from the winners’ bracket in the double-elimination tournament, the Lady Generals needed back-to-back wins against Northwest to claim the title.

The Lady Bruins didn’t let that happen, winning 12-6 in the winner-take-all second game to bring a championship trophy back to Tunnel Hill again.

“We just wanted to make it interesting,” senior second baseman Hannah Godfrey joked.

It was that way for much of the day on the diamond for Northwest, which finished the year with a 36-7 record and claimed a top-four finish for the fourth time in five seasons. The Lady Bruins led 4-1 in the first game, but Heritage (33-9) rallied in the final four innings to force the second matchup.

Ahead 7-6 in the decisive contest, the Lady Bruins scored four runs in the top of the sixth inning, eliminating the need for any late-game drama — unlike last year, when Bayli Cruse hit the winning two-run homer in a 2-1 extra-inning victory against Madison County.

However, the Lady Bruins didn’t stumble in last year’s championship round, beating Madison County in one game to avoid the pressure that a must-win contest brings. Cruse, a senior catcher, reflected on the difference between the 2012 and 2013 titles.

“It means a lot more to win it this year than last year, because this was our last game,” Cruse said. “This year, it was a team effort.”

Souther echoed the latter thought: “We played more together in this tournament than we ever have.”

Northwest’s three-day tournament run included 3-1 and 5-0 wins Thursday against Wayne County and Madison County, respectively. The Lady Bruins won 5-4 Friday in the winners’ bracket final against the Lady Generals, who beat Madison County 2-1 in Saturday’s losers’ bracket final to reach the championship round.

Northwest won slow-pitch softball state championships in 1987 and 1993, but last season’s title was the first in fast-pitch for the Lady Bruins, who finished third in the Class 4A bracket in 2009 and fourth in 2010. (The GHSA added the fast-pitch game in 1994, offering both versions of softball as an option before eliminating slow-pitch altogether after the 1997 season.)

Northwest also won team sports state titles in baseball (Class 3A, 1982) and girls golf (Class 4A, 2009).

For Lady Bruins right fielder Alyssa Ward, a freshman who celebrated a state title for the first time, the feeling of victory was overwhelming.

“It’s crazy,” she said. “I’m speechless. I knew we could do it.”

Cruse, Godfrey and Souther were among six seniors on this year’s roster — Ashley Conner, Colbie Thomas and Macy Weeks were the others. Other members of this year’s team were: juniors Brileigh Baggett, Gabbi Helton and Bayley Marquardt; sophomores Madison Gowin, Jamison Payne and Shelby Ralston; and freshmen Kayla Bearden, McCall Carlock and Kylee Ward.

The Lady Bruins are coached by Jason Brooker, who has won state titles in both of his seasons leading the team.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Dalton State turtle 4.jpg In the mood for love: Encouraging breeding, saving species

    For one Dalton State College couple, a cool misty shower is more effective than Barry White and candles at turning thoughts to love. And keeping this couple feeling amorous could mean survival of the species.

    August 1, 2014 4 Photos

  • Beaulieu expects 2,000 employees to be affected by week-long shutdown

    About 2,000 employees of Beaulieu of America in Georgia and Alabama will be affected by the company’s plans to conduct an inventory of its buildings and facilities next week.

    August 1, 2014

  • Moral monday 3 mlh.jpg Four ‘jailed for justice’ tell their stories

    Arturo Martinez was just 8 when his family came to the United States from Mexico, and though he is one of more than 500,000 young undocumented immigrants granted deferred removal by President Barack Obama, Martinez said his dream of pursuing higher education is out of reach because of Georgia policies.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tanner Blackton: Diners, servers must show understanding

    Try to imagine this: You’ve been on your feet for hours, hoisting heavy plates, buzzing from table to table, taking orders, running food, refilling drinks. All the while, you have a smile plastered on your face and a go-to attitude, even when people blame you for things that are out of your control, berate you for accidentally mixing up an order, or loudly complain about being seated underneath an air conditioning vent.

    August 1, 2014

  • Bugs and Kisses 1 mlh.jpg Local stores expect tax holiday to create lots of sales

    Local retailers say Georgia’s sales tax holiday weekends mean big business for them, and they are gearing up to capitalize on this year’s tax-free shopping on Friday and Saturday.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Esme file mw 2.jpg Still fighting

    Ten-year-old Esme Miller was celebrated earlier this year for the way she’s handled a bout with osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Historical photos of Murray County needed

    Maybe you have a photograph of a well-known preacher from the 1940s. Or maybe you have a photograph taken of a church choir from the 1920s.

    July 30, 2014

  • State DOT wants your input on transportation needs

    As state and national leaders consider alternatives for funding future transportation needs, the Georgia Department of Transportation wants to know what Georgians would like in their 21st century transportation system and how they recommend paying for it.

    July 30, 2014

  • Jail for Justice Tour event here tonight

    The Moral Monday Georgia Coalition, the NAACP-led multi-racial, multi-issue advocacy group, will host an event in partnership with the Georgia Dreamers Alliance, Coalition of Latino Leaders (CLILA), Whitfield NAACP and the Whitfield County Democratic Party at Dalton’s Mack Gaston Community Center tonight from 5 to 9.

    July 30, 2014

  • Two charged with tampering with evidence in drug investigation

    Two people have been arrested and charged with tampering with evidence in connection with the synthetic marijuana bust in February involving a Dalton business owner.

    July 30, 2014