The Cartersville Purple Hurricanes returned to the state playoffs after a decade-long absence and the Woodland Lady Wildcats punched their ticket to the big show after being away a year, coming back with a vengeance on the strength of a 20-plus win season.
Cass and Adairsville both showed signs of their programs pointed toward postseason play, with the Lady Colonels falling just one game short of a playoff entry themselves. The Excel Lady Eagles are showing early signs of laying a foundation for a brighter future.
In Bartow County, once again the Lady Wildcats plowed through a difficult schedule and used what they learned to help make a push in the state playoffs.
Woodland earned a 21-12 overall record — the 10th time in the past 11 seasons it has tallied 20 victories — and earned an 8-3 record in tough Region 5-AAAAA. The Lady Wildcats advanced to the state playoffs where they took Loganville — which made the Elite Eight — to three games. It was the seventh time in the last 11 years it has advanced to the state playoffs. The performance helped Woodland snap back from a difficult 2011, when it fashioned a 14-17 overall record with a 5-3 region mark and missed the playoffs.
This past season Woodland played 12 opponents that made the state playoffs, too, including three games against Northwest Whitfield, which won the state championship in AAAA. It also played Gordon Lee, the eventual state champion in A.
Woodland, coached by the highly successful Colman Roberts, closed out its season with a 15.72 power matrix rating in AAAAA ball, the county's best rating. The rating was 13th best among the state's 75 AAAAA schools.
Also reaching the state playoffs this year was Cartersville, which completed its third year under the guidance of Rick Holsomback, whose program is becoming a force to be reckoned with in AAA ball.
The Purple Hurricanes showed marked improvement once again. They compiled a 13-14 record overall and an 8-6 record in Region 5B-AAA, at 8-6, but more importantly qualified for the state playoffs.
Cartersville fell in the first round of the state playoffs to Jackson County, which made the Elite Eight. In all, the Lady Canes played eight teams that made the playoffs, including North Murray, which they played three times,
Cartersville earned 11.52 on the Power Matrix, good enough for 23rd out of 61 state AAA schools.
Also showing signs of improvement was Cass High. The Lady Colonels compiled a 12-17-1 record with a 4-4 mark in Region 7A-AAAA, a marked improvement over a year ago when they finished 9-20 with a 1-7 region mark.
Among their opponents this year were 16 teams that made the state playoffs, including eventual state champions Union Grove [AAAAA], Gordon Lee [A] and Northwest Whitfield [AAAA].
The Lady Colonels earned a power matrix rating of 11.01, putting them in 29th place out of 77 AAAA schools.
Adairsville played more competitively even though that didn’t translate into more victories under new coach Kandace Bruno.
The Lady Tigers compiled a 7-16 overall record and went 4-10 in Region 5B-AAA. Last year’s edition was 8-20 overall and 5-7 in its region.
Adairsville this year, however, lost six games by three runs or more. Last year, the Lady Tigers lost 16 games by three runs or more.
It drew a 9.03 Power Matrix, 33rd out of 61 AAA schools.
Excel had a rebuilding season, going 0-11 overall and 0-9 in Region 6A-A. The Lady Eagles received a 6.12 Power Matrix rating, 50th out of 71 state A schools.
Here’s a look at the 2012 All-County Softball Team:
Rogers, who is The Daily Tribune News’ pitcher of the year, made a big splash in her first year as the pitching ace for the storied Woodland Lady Wildcat program, tying the school record for number of victories with 19. She shares that record now with Jamie Fitzpatrick, who played her collegiate years at Kent State University.
Rogers, a sophomore, played 17 games against state playoff opponents for Woodland. Among her victims were Northwest Whitfield during the regular season and Loganville in the first round of the state AAAAA playoffs.
Rogers was 19-11 on the mound with 85 strikeouts tallied over 188 2/3 innings of work. She surrendered 217 hits, 107 runs and 75 earned runs against an extremely tough lineup of teams.
She also contributed to the Lady Wildcats offensively, driving in 12 runners while scoring 11 runs on 15 hits. She hit four doubles and drew three walks.
Bailey fashioned a 9-10 record for the Lady Colonels while appearing in 22 games and putting in 111 innings of work.
The junior hurler was tagged for 58 runs, 33 of them earned, and struck out 112 while compiling a stingy 2.67 ERA.
She also was a quality performer behind the plate as well, compiling a .338 batting average during her 62 plate appearances. She scored 12 runs during the year while collecting 21 hits, three of them doubles and one a triple. She was walked seven times and was credited with 11 stolen bases.
Yantis, a sophomore, added to her pitching accomplishments by helping Cartersville return to the state playoffs for the first time in a decade.
Yantis compiled a 12-12 record, surrendering 75 runs, 55 of which were earned, for a 2.43 ERA. She also recorded 151 strikeouts over 158 innings of work.
The Lady Purple Hurricane also helped her teammates out offensively by accounting for 34 hits, including five doubles, on the season while batting .441, the highest on her team. She scored nine runs, drove in 12 runners and was walked three times.
Co-offensive player of year
Ballard, The Daily Tribune News’ co-offensive player of the year, had a dream season at the plate, hitting .507.
While that was perhaps the most impressive of her statistical accomplishments, she had others, including leading the Lady Colonels in hits with 34; doubles, 9; home runs, 3; and RBIs, 21.
The senior was a complete player for Cass drawing five walks and making herself a distraction to opposing pitchers by stealing nine bases. Ballard crossed home plate 15 times.
Co-offensive player of year
Catcher Lacey Fritz, also The Daily Tribune News’ co-offensive player of the year, was a steadying influence for the Lady Wildcats behind the plate, as the senior helped make their transition to a new Woodland pitcher a smooth one.
Fritz, who also will be taking her game to the next level, was the big power source for Woodland this year, continuing a long tradition of hitting catchers at the school.
Fritz, who had 34 hits, drove in 29 runners for the cause — 11 more than her closest teammate. She hit a team-high five home runs, scored for 23 runs and accounted for 10 doubles.
She showed patience at the plate, coaxing an additional 10 bases on balls from pitchers. Fritz batted .366.
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