October 28, 2012

That was a blast: Cruses walk-off HR leads Lady Bruins to softball state title

COLUMBUS — Madison County went with the conservative approach to manufacture its first and only run in Saturday’s Class 4A softball state championship.

Northwest Whitfield was rewarded for being aggressive in response.

On the second pitch in the bottom of the eighth inning, Lady Bruins junior catcher Bayli Cruse launched a line drive to the deepest part of the field, straightaway center, but all that mattered was that the ball landed on the other side of the fence at the South Commons Softball Complex.

The walk-off, two-run home run gave the Lady Bruins a 2-1 win and the first fast-pitch softball state title in school history.

After seven scoreless innings from both sides, the Lady Red Raiders scored in the eighth, when the international tiebreaker — which places the player who made the last out in the previous inning — went into effect. Brianne Carr advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt, then scored two batters later on Jessica Allen’s grounder to second baseman Karlie Henson.

Needing a score to avoid heading to a do-or-die second game in the double-elimination tournament, Northwest (35-3) could’ve used the same small-ball approach taken by Madison County (33-8). With Hannah Godfrey starting the inning on second, a successful sacrifice bunt would have moved her to third and anything but a strikeout or shallow popup most likely would have scored a run.

Instead, Cruse, the team’s top power hitter, was granted the chance to swing away.

“We talked about it,” Northwest coach Jason Brooker said. “We had our Nos. 3, 4 and 5 coming up, and I kind of depend on one of them to get a hit. We talked about bunting and trying to bunt (Godfrey) in, but they’re a good team, and it would take a great bunt to get her in.

Text Only
  • DHS at Heritage 1 mlh.jpg Generally disappointed

    Dalton High School’s baseball team started the fifth inning of Friday’s crucial Sub-region 7B-4A game against Heritage-Catoosa with four consecutive hits.
    The only problem for the Catamounts was that was where their good hitting started and stopped.

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • Prep roundup: Upset puts N. Murray in baseball playoffs

    Over the past few seasons, a late-season game with Sonoraville has been the deciding factor in whether the North Murray High School baseball team advanced to the state playoffs.

    April 18, 2014

  • Miller, Mariners off to NAIA title tournament

    Former Dalton High School golf standout Chase Miller is finishing his senior year at College of Coastal Georgia on a high note.

    April 18, 2014

  • NW at SE soccer   5  mlh.jpg On to the title match

    With around 15 minutes left in Thursday’s Region 7-4A semifinals match, Northwest Whitfield High School’s boys soccer team increased pressure on Southeast Whitfield with hopes of a tying goal.
    But the host Raiders were the ones getting the late goal.

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • DHS tennis day 2 2 mlh.jpg Prep tennis: Perfect Colts claim title in Region 5-3A

    Coahulla Creek High School’s boys tennis team only needed three years to win its first region championship.

    April 17, 2014 2 Photos

  • Heritage at DHS baseball 3 mlh.jpg Prep baseball: Cats must win today to clinch No. 2 seed

    Dalton High School’s baseball team led 6-5 against visiting Heritage-Catoosa as late as the fifth inning with a chance to clinch second place in Sub-region 7B-4A.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Region track and field: Richardson paces Murray Co. girls

    Katlyn Richardson has had an impressive junior season for Murray County High School’s girls track and field team.

    April 17, 2014

  • Colts boys have shot at 3A golf state sectional

    Coahulla Creek High School’s boys golf team finished second in the Region 5-3A tournament at Calhoun’s Fields Ferry Golf Course on Thursday, but now the Colts will have to wait to see if they will advance to the Class 2A state sectional tournament.

    April 17, 2014

  • CHS Lowe_Bartley 3 mlh.jpg Let’s keep playing

    Academic offerings played a big part in which college football program nabbed Christian Heritage School’s Nich Bartley, one of the area’s top players in 2013.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Prep roundup: Coahulla Creek hurts N. Murray’s playoff hopes

    One play in the fifth inning, during which the sun got in pitcher Braiden Jacobs’ eyes, seemed to encapsulate the entire season for Coahulla Creek High School’s baseball team.
    But it could be one rule misinterpretation that defines the season for North Murray.

    April 17, 2014