The University of Georgia softball team played in the final four of the NCAA Softball World Series last weekend. And one of the key players has ties to our area.
Freshman Alison Owen, was a four-year letter-winner at East Coweta High School. During her time as an Indian, she helped lead the ECHS team to four consecutive Georgia High School Association AAAAA Elite-8 appearances, and was a runner-up to the state title in 2008.
This year Owen, as a Bulldog, began her season primarily in the role as a relief pitcher, but as the season rolled on, UGA coaches knew this hurler had to see more time as a starter.On Saturday Owen started against the number five ranked University of Florida team, and led the Bulldogs to a 3-2 win over the Gators. In that game, the freshman pitched 4 ½ innings, throwing 78 pitches with 54 strikes. The Lady Dog gave-up only 4 hits and 2 earned runs. She struck out 2 batters. With the win, Owen and the UGA team advanced into the semi-finals of the World Series, taking on perennial powerhouse UCLA.
On Sunday, the number-four ranked Bruins proved to be too much for the Dogs, defeating the Athens team 5-2. In that game Owen was on the mound as a relief pitcher, getting action in two innings, throwing 38 pitches, 27 of them for strikes. She struck out 2 batters, and allowed 3 earned runs.
This was the Lady Dogs second appearance in the final four of the World Series, ending their season with a 50-13 record. They currently are ranked number nine in the nation but will probably end up higher when the final rankings come out, as a result of their strong showing in the World Series.
Owen finished her freshman year with a 13-2 record, with 3 saves and an ERA of 2.58.
Owen’s aunt, Becky Chambless who lives in Ludowici talked about her niece after Georgia’s loss on Sunday.
"I am just so proud of her that I guess you can say I’m a bragging aunt and just want everyone to see how well she plays," Chambless said.
"As with every athlete, they all struggle at times as she did in the game today with UCLA, but one thing about Alison is that she is always smiling, even the sports commentators commented on that...Alison is really a sweet girl and a good kid."
Owen is the daughter of Al and Donna Owen, and the granddaughter of the late Bill Owen, who was the long time superintendent for the Long County schools.