Lady Barons enter GACC tourney as No. 3 seed

The Brewton-Parker College softball team finished its best-ever conference season with a doubleheader sweep of Georgia Southwestern State University at Americus on April 13 to lock up at least a tie for third place in the Georgia-Alabama-Carolina Conference standings.

Then, after splitting a non-conference twin bill against Savannah College of Art and Design on April 16, the Lady Barons’ GACC situation actually improved for this week’s conference tournament, Thursday through Saturday in Dahlonega.

By virtue of top-seeded and regular-season champion North Georgia College and State University’s doubleheader sweep of Faulkner University (Ala.) on April 14, Faulkner and Brewton-Parker were locked into a tie for third with 19-9 GACC records. However, the teams split their four games, with each sweeping on the road.

Because of the Lady Barons’ doubleheader split against North Georgia on March 26, Brewton-Parker won the third-place tiebreak after Faulkner was winless against the Lady Saints.

The Lady Barons (33-14 overall) therefore open the GACC tournament against No. 6 seeded Shorter College (8-20, both overall and in GACC action) on Thursday at 4 p.m.

A win puts the Lady Barons into Friday’s noon game against the winner of the 2 p.m. game between No.2 seeded Georgia Southwestern (21-7, 33-18) -- against which the Lady Barons went 3-1 -- and No. 7 Emmanuel College (6-22, 12-40 before a Tuesday non-conference doubleheader). A loss against Shorter results in an 8 p.m. game Thursday against the Southwestern-Emmanuel loser.

The championship semifinal is set for 6 p.m. Friday, with the championship game at 1 p.m. Saturday. A second title game, if necessary, will be at 3 p.m.

“We broke the school records for conference wins and conference finish,” said second-year Lady Barons coach Jason Bryant. “We are looking forward to this weekend.”

The Lady Barons earned their school-record 19th conference victory with their 4-0 and 5-2 sweep of Southwestern, with senior Kelly Hamilton of Fergus, Ontario, getting the win in the opener and assisted offensively by Hiram freshman Lindsay Hamrick’s two-out, three-RBI double.

In the nightcap, Tonya Golden got the win, aided by a two-run homer and three RBI overall by freshman Alease Connell of Nashville, Ga., who drove in four base runners on the day.

Against SCAD, Hamilton (19-7) pitched a solid game in the opener but was outdone by her Bees counterpart, Sarah Areheart, who struck out eight and scattered three hits and aided her own cause with a two-run double in SCAD’s three-run third inning – all the Bees needed for a 3-0 win.

“Kelly pitched a great game, but we didn’t match the other girl pitch for pitch,” Bryant said.
“SCAD played a very good game.”
In the nightcap, however, Golden (10-4) took the upper hand and got the 9-5 win with lots of run support.

“We played very well offensively, highlighted by Ashley Todd (Claxton sophomore) and her two-out, two-RBI double for a 6-5 lead in the fifth,” Bryant said.

Connell then drove home two runs with a double in the sixth, giving the Lady Barons their final margin. Sophomore Rachael Harper of Brunswick had a pair of two-out hits also produced runs.