Brookwood wins fifth straight region softball title

SNELLVILLE — Brookwood defeated Archer 4-3 on Thursday night to secure their fifth straight region championship. Amanda Ablan picked up her third straight win of the tournament to lead her team to their fifth straight title.

“This was a great battle,” Brookwood head coach Bill Batchelor said. “We always have great battles with them and this one was no different. Our girls took a punch early on but they battled back and we are very proud of them.”

Ablan had nearly blanked the Tigers on Tuesday with Archer scoring one run in the seventh inning, but this time Archer jumped on the board early with an RBI single from Abby Lyall. The 1-0 deficit was the only time Brookwood trailed the entire tournament.

Ablan responded right away, however, with an RBI double in the bottom of the first to tie the game at one, and then striking out the side in the top of the second. She had an RBI in all three of the Broncos games.

Brookwood (21-12) took the lead in the bottom of the second. After two singles and an error loaded the bases, Avery Reppel took a pitch off the facemask to bring home Sam Leach. After a throwing error by the catcher allowed a second run to score in the inning, Taylor Rinehart hit a sacrifice fly to make the score 4-1.

Archer (22-11) battled back with two runs in the top of the fourth when an error allowed Holli Sturgill to score and Brittney Marasette brought in Sydney Willhite. The Tigers threatened again in the fifth with two runners on and no outs, but Ablan shut them down there with two consecutive strikeouts and a pop up.

Ablan finished the game with 11 strikeouts, taking her total for the tournament to 34, including the 18 strikeout performance in a no hit effort against Grayson.

“Amanda would always be the first one to tell you she couldn’t do it without her teammates,” Batchelor said. “This was probably her toughest game. I don’t think she felt like she had her best stuff, but she battled through it and pitched well.”

After the three runs in the second from Brookwood, Archer’s pitchers really settled down and pitched nicely and kept their team in the game. Lauren Tatum and Kory Best combined to put away 14 of the last 15 batters they faced.

Kayla Louie was the only Brookwood hitter to reach base multiple times, doing so with a pair of singles. She also scored a run and had a stolen base.

Abby Lyall went 2-for-3 with an RBI in defeat for the Tigers. Jenna Graham was also 2-for-3 with a walk while Brittney Marasette went 1-for-3 with a walk and an RBI.

Brookwood now moves on to the state tournament. The program has never won a state title despite numerous deep runs, including reaching the final four last season.

“The goal every year is the win a state title,” Batchelor said. “We have been fortunate enough to have had the opportunity every year the last five years. But we just have to take it a pitch at a time and get better every day along the way.”