Injury-riddled Bradwell Institute won the bronze division of the Battle of the ’Boro softball tournament over the weekend at Mill Creek Park in Statesboro.
The tournament featured 15 teams from around the state, and the Lady Tigers drew the A pool against Walnut Grove, ranked first in the state in Class AAA, according to ga.prepcountry.com; Cross Creek; and Statesboro High School.
It was a tough slate for a team that is fighting the injury bug.
“Our team is battling injuries right now, so we had an extremely challenging tournament,” BI coach Sharyl Eastlake said. “There were no courtesy runners for the pitcher or the catcher. Sarah Wells is recovering from a bruised foot, Kasey Smith has a jammed thumb from catching, and Rachael Ray has a bruised calf and ankle. Sam Gonzalez is recovering from a concussion, and Courtney Felton has just returned from a bicep/triceps injury she received during a college softball summer camp.” In game one, the Lady Tigers faced Cross Creek and committed nine errors in a 12-3 loss. Bradwell bounced back with a 9-3 win over Statesboro’s Blue Devils.
On Saturday morning, the Hinesville girls faced top-seeded Walnut Grove and played well defensively in a 5-0 loss.
That put the BI girls in the bronze bracket of the three-team round-robin elimination pool.
The Lady Tigers beat East Laurens, 5-0, to advance to the championship game against rival Liberty County High School.
The Lady Panthers took an early lead in the first inning, scoring two runs on three Lady Tiger errors. But BI scored six runs in the top of the second inning and added two more runs in the fourth inning. Liberty scored to make it 8-4 before the game was called in the fourth due to time issues.
Bradwell’s top offensive performers in the tournament were Barbara Rego, Kelissa Hargrove, Rachael Ray, Ashley Riles and Candace Blair. Rego had eight hits and drove in four runs; Hargrove had seven hits and four RBIs; Ray, Riles and Blair had three hits and three RBIs each.
Karson Rogers pitched four games, including the championship game, and went 2-2. Rego won the one game she pitched.
Eastlake said she was proud of her girls’ determination and endurance and looks forward to Region 3-AAAAA play, which started Tuesday against visiting Jenkins.
“Every game we lose is a learning experience and impetus for us to improve,” Eastlake said. “Tournaments are fun and it is nice to earn the trophies, but the region games are where we have to shine.”