Brookwood girls welcome their teammate Mandy Blackwell (21) at home plate after Blackwell hit a 2 run home run against Archer during the high school Region 8-AAAAAA Softball Tournament Championship at Archer High School in Lawrenceville on Thursday. Blackwell hit two home runs in the game as Brookwood defeated Archer 6-0.
LAWRENCEVILLE -- Formerly known as Region 8-AAAAA, the addition of another classification changed the name to Region 8-AAAAAA.
But that made no difference to the Brookwood softball team as the Broncos won their fourth-straight region title with a convincing 6-0 over Archer in the championship game.
Strong pitching from freshman Amanda Ablan and the home-run bat of senior Mandy Blackwell was all Brookwood would need en route to the title.
Ablan pitched a complete-game three-hitter and struck out six while working out of some early trouble to record the win in the circle for Brookwood (22-10).
Meanwhile, Blackwell homered twice and drove in four runs to seal the deal for the Broncos.
Coach Bill Batchelor's Brookwood squad will move on to the state tournament next week as the No. 1 seed from 8-AAAAAA after rolling through the region tournament undefeated.
"This team is competing now and we're playing well," said Batchelor of a team that has won 12 of its last 15 games and five in a row. "I don't know if we are peaking, but I'm very proud of the way they came out here and fought. This is special to win region and we'll see what happens next week at state."
Meanwhile, Archer (25-7) came into the region tournament as the top seed following a perfect record in regular-season region play.
But the Tigers fell twice to the Broncos and will now represent 8-AAAAAA as the No. 2 seed at state.
Grayson and Parkview will join Brookwood and Archer as the third and fourth seeds, respectively, from 8-AAAAAA.
The region championship game was scoreless until the bottom of the fourth inning when Brookwood exploded for four runs.
After Taiylor Rinehart reached on a bunt for Brookwood's first hit of the game, Blackwell came up one out later and drove an 0-2 pitch over the fence in left field for a 2-0 Broncos' lead.
Brookwood built a 4-0 lead with a pair of unearned runs before the inning was over and then turned the game over to Ablan to finish out the final three frames.
Blackwell later added her second home run of the game in the fifth with a blast over the fence in center field for the final six-run margin.
"I told Coach (Batchelor) earlier today at school that I wanted to do something special," said Blackwell, a four-year starter for the Broncos. "We were so pumped up today and now we get to go to state. I want to get to Columbus in my senior year and for this team."
For Archer, it was a case of not cashing in some early scoring changes as the Tigers stranded six runners in the game -- including one in the second, two in the third and one more in the fourth.
Ablan settled in and pitched perfect fifth and sixth innings before Archer put runners on second and third with two outs in the top of the seventh.
But Ablan recorded the final out on a fly ball to right to preserve the shutout and region crown.
"This feels really great," said Ablan. "I just kept working hard and tried to help my team. I know those four runs we got (in the fourth) helped me relax some and I just wanted to hold (Archer) from coming back."