This year’s senior class isn’t the first to go through Archer’s softball program from start to finish, as the Tigers are in their fifth season of varsity play.
However, it is quickly becoming one of the most decorated.
In addition to winning the school’s first-ever state championship in any sport a year ago, the recent announcement of college commitments of four of its members makes five of the eight-member senior class that will move on to play at the next level.
Infielder Krisitin Hawkins (Georgia State), catcher Jenna Graham (Georgia Gwinnett), third baseman Abby Lyall (Georgia Perimeter) and first baseman/pitcher Katie Etheridge (Chipola (Fla.) Community College) joined previous commitment Alesha Mann (Georgia Southern) in securing their college futures.
And a sixth senior, catcher/infielder Holli Sturgill, is also expected to sign with a college program when the early signing period begins in November.
It just emphasizes to Tigers coach Kristopher Daniels how important this year’s seniors have been in helping him build the Archer program up so quickly.
“This is a special group,” Daniels said. “They came in right away and started as freshmen. They’ve been difference-makers. It’s exciting.
In addition to the seniors, one underclassman has already made a college commitment, with sophomore Jacqui Switzer having given a non-binding verbal pledge to attend the University of Florida.
The last two weeks have been a long road for Mill Creek to travel in every sense of the term.
Weather permitting, the Hawks’ scheduled games at home in the Brookwood Invitational scheduled for Saturday were to have been their 12th game in the last 12 days, with half those games being on the road, including each of the last four this week leading up to Saturday.
Previous rainouts were part of the reason for the busy slate, but it was already scheduled to be an active week, one that head coach Roger Parham was hoping to survive with the home stretch of the Region 7-AAAAAA schedule approaching.
“It’s tough,” Parham said. “Even though most of these girls are used to play a lot through travel ball during the summer, that’s usually done mostly on the weekends. When you add in school to them mix, it can be tough for them.
“It definitely puts us in a situation where we have to be mentally focused. We’re just trying to hold it in the road right now.”
The Hawks have done a pretty good coping so far with a 5-4 record heading into Friday’s nightcap against Alcovy, though the stretch may be taking a toll on them after losing three of their last four this week.
Buford pitching remains strong during its 18-1 start to the season.
Bria Bush’s one-hit outing in a 17-0, four-inning win over White County on Wednesday marked the eight shutout by the Wolves’ staff this season.
Add in four more wins by the combined staff of Bush, Tessa Daniels and Emily Crocker and Buford pitching has held opponents to one or no runs in 12 of their 19 games this season, with only four opponents managing three or more runs.