Brookwood head coach Bill Batchelor congratulates Brookwood's Ansley Jones who was driven in to score by teammate Baylei Banfield's two-run home run during the second inning against Grayson on Tuesday. The runs set the score at 4-0.
LOGANVILLE -- It was a moment both Bill and Carley Batchelor knew was coming for years.
That didn't make it any easier for Bill, Brookwood's head coach, or Carley, Grayson's freshman third baseman, to deal with Tuesday when the teams played each other Tuesday.
"I don't know why, but I was probably more nervous about this game than playing in the state championship," Bill said following his Broncos' 8-0 win in five innings over his daughter and her Rams teammates at Grayson. "It's just weird. It's very strange, but I'm proud of her."
He had every reason to be proud of his Broncos (8-4, 1-0). Particularly freshman Amanda Ablan, who retired the first 14 Rams (4-4, 0-1) hitters she faced before losing her perfect game with two outs in the final inning, and added two hits and an RBI at the plate.
One of those hits, an RBI single, followed Megan Litumbe's sacrifice fly in the top of the first. It got Brookwood out to a quick 2-0 lead, which ballooned to 5-0 after the Broncos added three more runs in the second, highlighted by Baylei Banfield's two-run home run, one of her two hits on the day.
"We did a good job early," Bill Batchelor said. "They did a good job of getting the big hit early when we needed it."
And that was more than enough for Ablan, who rolled through Grayson's lineup with nine strikeouts in five innings.
In fact, the best contact anyone made against her came on two swings by Rams junior Breanna Ethridge, both of which she lined down the third-base line.
The first landed in the glove of Brookwood third baseman Susan Norris, who didn't even have to move to record the out.
The second landed foul just wide of the line in left, allowing Ablan to strike out Ethridge to lead off the fifth and raised her comfort level.
"I felt more relaxed," Ablan said about retiring Ethridge. "I think I missed a pitch and (threw one) right down the middle. But I fixed it."
One out later, Amber Miller took that one missed pitch to the opposite field and lined it on one hop to the left-field wall for a double to break up the perfect game.
But Ablan induced Rachel Seasholtz to pop out to center, and with the Broncos leading 8-0, the game ended on the GHSA's mercy rule.
In addition to Ablan and Banfield, Taiylor Rinehart and Ansley Jones each had two hits for Brookwood.
It was a tough loss for a Rams team that not only feature numerous freshmen and sophomores, but was missing veteran starers Taylor Denton and Brittany King to injuries.
"(Alban) pitched a great game," Grayson coach Jennifer Edwards said. "She came ready to pitch. ... She did a good job.
"We've got a young team and we've got a lot of injuries. We're just trying to find our(selves) and kind of settle down and get into things."
Like her teammates, Carley Batchelor was disappointed for the loss, though that disappointment was trumped a little by the oddity of playing against a team coached by her father.
Dan has coached her teams through recreational and travel ball as long as she can remember, and she could have followed him to Brookwood when she reached high school, but opted to stay with the friends she grew up with in the Grayson district instead.
"He's been my coach my whole life," said Carley Batchelor, who finished the game 0-for-1 at the plate and made an uneventful play on the one ball hit to her at third. "It was weird. We talked last night, and he was like, 'I just want you to play your best, and we'll see what happens.'"
For the most part, the Batchelors minded their own business.
But with the elder Batchelor in the third-base coaching box just a few feet away from where his daughter was playing in the field, some sort of interaction was inevitable.
"Yeah, I was trying to (steal) his signs," Carley said with a laugh. "I was trying to do what I could for the team."
So was Bill when he was tempted to discuss a scouting report on his daughter to Alban before assistant coach Angel Parks laid down the law.
"Angel Parks, who calls our pitches, said, 'Get out of here!'" Bill said with a laugh. "So, I went down to the end of the dugout. They called it.
"It's strange because my kid has ... grown up with all these (Brookwood) kids."