Sports

June 10, 2014

Select showdown

Cruse, Thomas will represent North today in GACA All-Star Showcase

It’s not uncommon for a Northwest Whitfield High School softball player to take part in the state’s premier all-star event for the sport.

This year, though, the Lady Bruins have multiple representatives playing — as well as the top coach.

Bayli Cruse and Colbie Thomas will represent their alma mater and the area today in the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association’s All-Star Softball Showcase. The 11 a.m. doubleheader at Alto Park in Rome will pit recent seniors from the northern half of the state against their counterparts from the southern half of the state.

Northwest’s Jason Brooker will coach the North squad after serving as an assistant in the game in 2013.

The North roster listed on the GACA website (gacacoaches.com) includes Ringgold’s Devan Brown, but Thomas said Brown isn’t participating. That leaves Marietta’s Lassiter as the closest school to Northwest with a player participating.

“It’s pretty cool because we’re the only local team (represented),” Cruse said. “There’s no one even remotely close to us on this team. We’re definitely on the map.”

Northwest put itself on the map when it comes to statewide recognition for fast-pitch softball over the past five years, though. The Lady Bruins finished among the top four teams in Class 4A four times during the past five seasons and won the state title the past two years, with Cruse and Thomas playing crucial roles in those title runs.

Cruse, a power-hitting catcher, was named The Daily Citizen’s 2013 All-Area Player of the Year and has signed with Tennessee Tech University. Thomas, an outfielder and speedy baserunner, earned her third selection to the All-Area Team last fall. Both also earned GACA All-State recognition in Class 4A — Cruse was the Player of the Year and Thomas joined fellow Northwest senior Ashley Conner and junior teammate BriLeigh Baggett on the All-State squad.

Last year, pitcher Emily Boyd was the lone representative for the Lady Bruins in the GACA All-Star Softball Showcase. The South won the first game, but the North earned a split when Boyd pitched in the second game for a 4-3 victory.

“It’s a privilege and honor because, like (Cruse) said, we are the only local team,” Thomas said. “Emily was the only local girl last year.”

Cruse, along with teammate Macy Weeks, played in the Georgia Dugout Club’s All-State Games at LaGrange College in November. That event included four separate teams grouped by their Georgia High School Association regions.

Brooker, who has led Northwest to the state title in each of his first two seasons as head coach, was the GACA Class 4A Coach of the Year for 2013. He considers today’s all-star doubleheader more prestigious that the Georgia Dugout Club event because it involves fewer players.

“There are only 16 girls picked to play and only two teams,” he said.

However, Brooker said there isn’t much coaching involved with an all-star team of this quality. He, Cruse and Thomas are already in Rome for the competition, and Brooker told the North’s players he wants them to swing away.

“I told them, ‘You made this team because you’re good, not because you can bunt a runner to second,’” Brooker recalled. “We’re going to hit.”

This isn’t the end of all-star action for Thomas, who will play in the Stump on Sports All-Star Classic at 6 p.m. on June 18 at Frost Stadium in Chattanooga. That game will feature recent seniors from northwestern Georgia taking on the same from southeastern Tennessee.

Cruse was invited to play, but she said she’ll be on vacation at the time. Northwest’s other four seniors from the 2013 season — Ashley Conner, Hannah Godfrey, Mallory Souther and Macy Weeks — are playing in the game. Coahulla Creek’s Erin Harden, North Murray’s Kara Deal, and Southeast Whitfield’s Chaya Drury and Kara Headrick were also listed on the Georgia roster.

The Peach State will be coached by Heritage-Catoosa’s Steve Chattin, who led his Lady Generals past Northwest to win the Region 7-4A championship but came up short against them in the Class 4A state title series.

1
Text Only
Sports
  • Dalton State College hires Kerem Daser as soccer director

    Dalton State College athletic director Derek Waugh said Tuesday that Kerem Daser, a veteran soccer coach, is the Roadrunners’ new soccer director.

    July 29, 2014

  • NW vs Cass baseball 6  mlh.jpg Thrown a curveball

    About four weeks ago, Seth Pierce and his family moved closer to Ringgold High School — a move which has big ramifications on two sports fronts. Not only will his departure affect the Northwest Whitfield High School baseball program, the move will also put him back on the football field.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • NW Football3.jpg Prep football: NW Whitfield staying hungry for more success

    Northwest Whitfield High School entered the 2013 season motivated to reach the state playoffs — something the Bruins accomplished.
    This year’s team possesses the hunger to mirror last season’s successes — and possibly more.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Chris Whitfield: Ending ride (kind of) as sports writer

    T wo weeks ago, I was told by managing editor Jamie Jones that I would no longer be a full-time sports writer with The Daily Citizen. It was a mutual decision.

    July 28, 2014

  • Local trio leads NW section to 3rd place

    Tori Owens, of Chatsworth finished 11-over-par Monday in the Junior Sectional Challenge Match at The Landings Club-Marshwood and Magnolia in Savannah for third place in the girls 12-13-year-old 9-hole division. She joined Landon Painter and Hardin Chambless on the Northwest team.

    July 28, 2014

  • SE fball conditioning 1 mlh.jpg Prep football: Raiders enter preseason hoping for breakthrough

    Entering his third year as Southeast Whitfield High School’s football coach, Sean Gray believes the last obstacle is belief.
    He believes this group of Raiders has that quality.

    July 28, 2014 2 Photos

  • Devin Golden: Other sports start practice this week

    Football isn’t the only high school sport during the fall — and the others are joining in this week.

    July 28, 2014

  • Three locals on NW team in state golf event

    Three local golfers — Hardin Chambless, Tori Owens and Landon Painter — played Sunday in round one of the Junior Sectional Challenge Match.

    July 28, 2014

  • DHS fball condition#1C0E6F8.jpg Prep football: Dalton enters camp well ahead of learning curve

    The joke came quick to the lips of Dalton High School football coach Matt Land when asked how the opening day of conditioning for the Catamounts went on Friday.
    “We can quit and go home,” Land said. “They have it all figured out.”

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hall of Fame Baseball_Chan.jpg Making a trip into town

    Frank Thomas was always driven to excel, and that sure served him well.
    “I was never that blue-chip prospect,” he said. “I had to outwork my opponents.”

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

Devin Golden's sports updates
AP Video
US Ready to Slap New Sanctions on Russia Kerry: Not Worried About Israeli Criticism Boater Rescued From Edge of Kentucky Dam Girl Struck by Plane on Florida Beach Dies Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre House to Vote on Slimmed-down Bill for Border Looming Demand Could Undercut Flight Safety Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating