Photo by Christine Troyke
SNELLVILLE -- With two on and one out in the sixth inning, Brandi Jones finally got a pitch to hit.
Brookwood's junior outfield and pitcher had walked in her first two at-bats of the second game against West Forsyth and hadn't seen much in the strike zone. But with the game tied 1-1, Jones knocked a 2-0 pitch through the infield for the game's first RBI and opened the door for a four-run sixth inning as Brookwood rallied to sweep West Forsyth 6-1 in the opening round of the Class AAAAA state tournament.
The Broncos won the first game 4-1 off Jones' 11-strikeout, one-run pitching performance. She also picked up the save in Game 2, striking out four in two scoreless innings.
Advancing in the playoffs also helps erase last season's first-round loss for the then-top-seeded Broncos.
"That was our big thing, remembering last year," Jones said. "We didn't want to be in that situation again and now we got over the hump."
The next hump is Mill Creek, which also swept its opening-round series Wednesday.
"We have to find a way to finish," Brookwood head coach Bill Batchelor said. "The first game was huge."
Brookwood won Game 1 off a dominating pitching performance from Jones, who's only earned run came in the seventh off a home run from West Forsyth's Maci Fletcher.
From there she retired the next three batters for the win.
Brookwood took an early lead in the opening-game win and scored all its earned runs off bunts and its fourth run off a West Forsyth error. Susan Norris went 2-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored and was the only Broncos' player with more than one hit in the game.
Jones, Mandy Blackwell, Ambree Muller, Daniella Ulloa and Rachel Hill each had a hit.
The hits didn't come as easily in Game 2. West Forsyth pitcher Kallie Martin walked five, but she took a no-hitter into the fifth inning with the game tied 1-1.
"Offensively we didn't have a game plan going in like we did in the first game," Batchelor said. "We were finally able to push a run across."
Jones' RBI was the first in an sloppy game in which the two teams combined for seven errors. The biggest miscue came after Jones' go-ahead RBI when a two-out ground ball slipped through the legs of the Wolverines' second baseman with the bases loaded. Three more runs scored on the error as the Broncos built a 5-1 lead.
"Coach told me not to swing until I saw a pitch I could hit," Jones said. "I was just trying to put the ball on the ground (to allow the run to score)."
The hit energized the Broncos' bats. Three of their seven hits came in the sixth inning.
"We weren't down (as a team), but we weren't up. But once we got that lead we got all of our confidence back," Jones said.
The Broncos scored their first run when Megan Litumbe walked to lead off the fourth and courtesy runner Emily Brantley scored from third on a passed ball. Jessica Neidigh scored the series' final run in the seven on Litumbe's RBI single as Brookwood extend its lead to help seal the sweep.
"The thing we have to work on is doing the little things right and finishing," Batchelor said. "I am glad we finished today."