LAWRENCEVILLE — Taylor Hansis was dominant in the circle, and Georgia Gwinnett College scored all the runs it needed early in a 9-0 win Saturday over Edward Waters College that gave the Grizzlies their third A.I.I. Tournament title in a row.
GGC (39-14) went 3-0 in the A.I.I. tournament, outscoring its opponents 28-1.
“We talked about win streaks and that it’s time to be consistent, and I think you saw that in our performance,” GGC coach Kat Ihlenburg said. “We scored runs in lots of innings, and we had multiple players with multiple-hit games, and the defense was really spot-on this week.”
Both the Grizzlies and Tigers had already clinched spots in the NAIA tournament before Saturday’s game. GGC will host NAIA Opening Round games May 13-15. The seeding and opponents will be announced at 4 p.m. Tuesday.
The Grizzlies (39-14) raced to an early lead in their first at-bat. Edward Waters pitcher Alyssa Fonda (6-7) gave up a double to Archer grad Sydney Willhite and a walk to Piper Wagner to put runners at first and second with two out. Fonda got Elyssa Melton to strike out swinging, but the third strike hit the ground and the catcher’s throw to first was wild, allowing Willhite to score the first run and keeping the inning alive. Sydney Pelaez followed up with a single that drove in two more runs, and GGC led 3-0 before Edward Waters got to the plate.
Hansis (22-7) was almost untouchable. The Tigers’ Samantha Hiley got a single in the first that sailed about a foot from the outstretched glove of shortstop Wagner, and Ashley Combast reached on a single in the fourth. Hansis set down the rest of the batters she faced, including six strikeouts, in six innings.
The Grizzlies added to their lead in the second on a sac fly by Crystal Busbee and an RBI double by Willhite, who went 2-for-3 with a pair of doubles, an RBI and a hit by pitch.
“It was really fun,” Willhite said. “I was focused on having fun with my teammates and making the best of it that I could. It was awesome.”
Fonda held GGC scoreless in the third, fourth and fifth innings, only allowing a hit to tournament Most Outstanding Player RaeQuinn Rossetti with one out in the fourth in that span.
Any hope the Tigers (13-19) had of coming back late got dashed in the top of the sixth. GGC’s Tori Robinson, who had been feeling ill over the past few days, led off the inning with a solo home run to left in her first at-bat of the game to make the score 6-0. The Grizzlies tacked three more runs on the board with RBIs from Busbee, Wagner and Melton to increase the lead to 9-0. A 1-2-3 bottom of the sixth ended the game.
Rossetti was 3-for-4 on the day with two runs and four stolen bases. She went 7-for-11 in GGC’s three tournament games en route to being named the MOP.
“I think we’re just really on point,” Rossetti said. “Everybody on our team is just playing behind each other, and when everybody plays behind each other, it’s so easy to just do well and perform.”
Busbee, Hansis and Willhite were named to the A.I.I. all-tournament team from GGC. Brittany Estrella, Fonda and Gabrielle Williamson were named to the team from Edward Waters, joined by Eden Hernandez and Brista Hinklin from Crowley’s Ridge and Hannah Knapp and Kayelyn Lewis from Talladega.