Brookwood second baseman Kayla Louie (00) catches a pop up behind North Forsyth’s Sydney Turner (9) during the first round of the state playoffs Wednesday evening at Brookwood. (Photo: Karl L. Moore)
SNELLVILLE — Brookwood rode strong starting pitching, some timely hitting and shaky North Forsyth defense as the Broncos swept the Raiders 9-0 and 6-3 in the first round of the Class AAAAAA state softball playoffs.
Brookwood (21-11) moves on to the second round next week, while North Forsyth’s season comes to a close at 15-14.
“We took advantage of some things in the first game, but we had to battle in the second game,” Brookwood head coach Bill Batchelor said. “I was pleased with the way we had a good approach at the plate after we got behind. We stayed patient and Ansley (Jones) and Kamryn (Tillman) got the big hits for us when we needed it.”
Brookwood took control early in the first game of the doubleheader and cruised to a 9-0 six-inning win.
The Broncos built an early 2-0 lead in the first inning on Game 1 on an RBI double by Kamryn Tillman that scored Ansley Jones and Grace McMurray.
Brookwood broke it open in the fifth as the Broncos plated four runs to make it 6-0 and then finished it up with two more in the sixth for the eight-run victory.
Shaky North Forsyth defense allowed the first two runs of the inning to come home.
After Jones scored on a Raiders’ error and Tillman added another RBI double to score McMurray, Sam Leach and Baylei Banfield each squeezed home runs in the four-run uprising.
Brookwood added its final three runs in the sixth when Jones came home on North Forsyth’s fourth error of the game, then pinch-hitter Chelsea DeBaun doubled in McMurray and Taylor Harp.
Tillman was 3-for-4 with three RBI and three runs scored while Jones was 2-for-2 with three runs scored and a walk.
Meanwhile, Ablan was completely shutting down the North Forsyth offense as the sophomore right-hander allowed just two base runners in the six-inning contest — a one-out single in the second and another one-out single in the fourth.
But neither runner advanced as Ablan held the Raiders at bay the rest of the afternoon while striking out 11 and walking none.
Ablan, who also went 2-for-3 at the plate with three RBI, struck out the side in the second and had at least one strikeout in all six innings.
In Game 2, Brookwood scratched across single runs in the first and second innings to take a 2-0 lead.
But North Forsyth suddenly came alive in the fourth on a two-run homer by Sydney Turner to tie the contest at 2-2.
Then North Forsyth took its only lead of the doubleheader on a solo homer from Andrea Coleman in the fifth to give the Raiders a 3-2 advantage.
But it would be the only two hits that Ablan would allow in her second start in the circle.
That left the door open for Brookwood to rally and the Broncos did just that, coming up with four runs in the top of the sixth to regain the lead at 6-3.
Jones got Brookwood even at 3-3 with an RBI single to chase home Harp.
After a walk to Ablan loaded the bases, Tillman ripped a double to right-center on a 3-2 pitch to score Kayla Louie, Jones and McMurray (running for Ablan) and a 6-3 Broncos’ lead.
From there, Ablan – who struck out 11 in the game and 22 overall for the doubleheader — fanned four of the final six North Forsyth batters to seal the deal for Brookwood.
“Amanda was just great for us tonight,” said Batchelor. “She only gave up like three or four hits all night and really did a good job of finishing the second game after we got the lead back.”
Ablan also went 2-for-3 at the plate, including a walk and a run scored, while Dana Downs was 2-for-4.