Cartersville reached the Sweet 16 for the first time in program history. The Lady Canes finished the season 16-13 and came in second in Region 5-AAA during the regular season.
Meanwhile, Woodland staged a three-run comeback in the final inning of a region playoff game to qualify for the state tournament for the second consecutive year and eighth time in the past 12 seasons. Unfortunately for the Lady Wildcats, they lost in the first round to Creekview in the best-of-three series. They finished the season 16-17, including the playoffs. They also finished the regular season second in Region 5-AAAAA.
Woodland played a tough out-of-region schedule against. Fifteen of the team’s opponents qualified for the state tournament in various classifications and seven reached the Elite Eight.
Cass rebounded from a disappointing start of the season and came within one game of a playoff berth themselves. The Lady Colonels’ record was 11-22, but they played much better softball to finish the season. Their 1-0 loss to Ridgeland in the region tournament knocked the team out of state tournament contention. Cass defeated Woodland in its one matchup with a Bartow rival by a score of 3-0.
Both Adairsville and Excel displayed young players with potential in 2013. Excel did not play a region schedule this season and posted a record of 16-9-1. Meanwhile, the Lady Tigers went 3-19. Adairsville did defeat Excel when they matched up against one another by a score of 8-0.
As always, several players stood out for their individual performances throughout the season.
OF THE YEAR
Cartersville and Woodland each reached the state playoffs and Cartersville’s Mallory Jackson and Wodland’s Ashley Jordan were big reasons why.
Jackson recorded an extra base hit in three of the Lady Canes’ five state playoff games, including a clutch home run against East Hall in the first round. She also had her “player of the year moment” when she fouled a ball off her foot against North Murray on Sept. 30. She was in obvious pain, but walked it off, walked that at bat, and then proceeded to hit a grand slam the following inning to break up a scoreless tie.
Overall, Jackson hit .364 with 21 runs scored and 20 RBIs in 88 at bats. The junior first baseman had a .568 slugging percentage, tops among players in the four schools who played region schedules. She hit 10 doubles and a triple to go along with 12 walks.
Senior left fielder Ashley Jordan was similarly clutch in the playoffs. In four region tournament games, Jordan had eight hits, including three doubles. Her leadoff double in the seventh inning ignited the three-run comeback against North Paulding to put Woodland into the state playoffs. She also made two run saving defensive plays in the game to keep the Lady Wildcats within striking distance.
Jordan reached base quite often as she hit .345 on the season and had 40 hits, which led the county. She scored 19 runs and had 17 RBIs in 116 at bats. She also got it done defensively, boasting a .954 fielding percentage.
Jordan was named to All-Region 5-AAAAA first team. She was selected to play in the 2013 Georgia Dugout Club All-Star game on Nov. 15 at LaGrange College. She is verbally committed to Georgia Highlands.
Her performance in 2013 is especially impressive because she missed the 2012 season due to a knee injury.
CO-PITCHERS OF THE YEAR
Annalyn Yantis — Cartersville
Yantis, a junior, was the ace for the Lady Canes and pitched to a 1.59 earned run average this season. She had 204 strikeouts to lead the county in 171.2 innings pitched and recorded 13 wins to 8 losses. She gave up 145 hits and 64 walks for a 1.217 WHIP.
“She gave us solid all-around pitching,” Cartersville coach Rick Holsomback said. “She got us to the Sweet 16. She just gave us great output all year.”
Yantis also added plenty of production at the plate with a .278 batting average, 18 RBIs and 10 runs.
For her efforts, Yantis was selected to the Region 5-AAA All-Region first team.
Like Jackson, Yantis had a clutch home run in the state playoffs and had several impressive pitching performance.
Brooke Rogers — Woodland
Rogers was outstanding in 2013, helping her team reach the state playoffs for the second consecutive year as the team’s primary pitcher. The junior pitched to a 1.73 ERA in 170 innings. She totaled 136 strikeouts while allowing just 44 walks and 163 hits for a 1.215 WHIP.
She was selected to the Region 5-AAAAA All-Region first team for her efforts as a pitcher. She also contributed at the plate with a .316 batting average, one game winning home run, 23 runs scored and 14 RBIs in 95 at bats.
Courtney Bailey — Cass
Bailey was named the Region 7A-AAAA Pitcher of the Year as a senior after an impressive career as a Lady Colonel. Bailey recorded a 2.43 ERA with 162 strikeouts in 161.2 innings. She improved as the season progressed and shut out Woodland with an 11-strikeout performance on Sept. 23.
Kennedy Bailey — Cartersville
Just a sophomore, the Lady Canes’ catcher led her team and tied for the county lead with 29 RBIs. She also hit .337 and walked 12 times for a .420 on-base percentage. She had three home runs to go along with eight doubles. One of her home runs came in the state playoffs against East Hall. The other two came in the same game on Sept. 24 against Gordon Central.
“Kennedy was solid behind the plate all year,” Holsomback said. “She came through with clutch hits and she led the region in hitting for her position.”
Bailey was selected to the Region 5-AAA second team.
Bridgett Hampton — Woodland
The junior third baseman was one of the biggest power threats in the county this season. Hampton led the Lady Wildcats in home runs, three, and RBIs, 29. She batted .340, while walking 15 times for a .432 on-base percentage. In total, she had 32 hits in 94 at bats and scored 18 runs for Woodland. As a result, Hampton was named as a Region 5-AAA second-team selection.
Lynnsey Hollifield — Cass
Hollifield led the Lady Colonels with a .339 batting average thanks to 19 hits in 56 at bats. She also had eight walks for an on-base percentage of .418.
“She had a great season with the bat and a great season at third,” Hight said of his junior third baseman after she was named to Region 7A-AAAA’s first team. “She made many good plays there.”
Lexi Adams — Excel
Adams, just a freshman, hit .494 this season with a .539 on-base percentage and .734 slugging percentage in 79 at bats. She hit two home runs, three triples and seven doubles, while walking eight times. Her 30 RBIs led the team, while also scoring 27 runs.
“She’s a rock at third base. She was a consistent power hitter in the middle of our order,” Excel head coach Chad Parker said. “We scored a lot of runs and she was a big reason why.”
Kailah Rain — Cartersville
The senior left fielder tore through the region schedule, batting .457 with five doubles and 10 walks in just 46 plate appearances against region opponents. Her performance helped lead the Lady Canes to the second seed in the region heading into the tournament. Overall, Rain hit .322 with 22 runs scored from the leadoff spot in the batting order. She had 10 doubles in 87 at bats and walked 19 times for a .443 on-base percentage.
“She made some great defensive plays in left field, two double plays, one in the state tournament and one against Ringgold,” Holsomback said of Rain. “Offensively, she hit over .400 in the region and I just always thought she was going to get on base.”
Bailey Roberts — Woodland
Roberts made plenty of diving catches in center field this season, but the junior also contributed at the dish with a .311 batting average, four triples and six doubles on the year. She had 32 hits in 103 at bats and scored 23 runs for the Lady Wildcats. What is most impressive is that Roberts struck out just four times all season. She was named a second team all-region selection.
Bailey Robinson — Adairsville
Just a freshman, Robinson led the team in almost every offensive categories on the season. She batted .383 with a .513 on-base percentage to go along with a .548 slugging percentage while starting several games in the outfield. She was named to the Region 5-AAA All-Region second team. Even more impressive is that Robinson was dealing with a back injury throughout the middle part of the season.
Hannah Knapp — Adairsville
Knapp was right behind Bailey in all offensive categories and was a key starter in the Lady Tigers’ outfield. The sophomore batted .353 with a .488 on-base percentage and .529 slugging percentage. She also lead the team in quality at bats and was second in stolen bases on the team.
“Hannah was also a leader on the team even though she was just a sophomore,” Adairsville head coach Kandace Bruno said. “She’s very coachable and strives to make sure she, as well as her teammates, are giving their all every day.”
HONORABLE MENTION: ADAIRSVILLE — Mackenzie Stephenson, Mallorie Collum, Victoria Davis; CARTERSVILLE — Hunter Irvin; CASS — Kelsey Holloway, Bre Mahrt, Camey Kirkland; WOODLAND — Kereston Franklin.