As the halfway mark nears, the five Bartow County teams have each had their fare share of wins and losses, making for an exciting turn down the home stretch of the season.
Any discussion over the county’s softball teams usually starts with Woodland and the Wildcats began the season with an arduous schedule that included several of Georgia’s best teams. However, the Lady Wildcats have managed to go 7-5 and are currently a perfect 4-0 in their region.
The key to the team’s success has been junior pitcher Brook Rogers. Rogers has yet to allow an earned run in her team’s four region games and the team is 7-3 when Rogers pitches. She is also getting it done with the bat, hitting 8-for-14 with one home run and six RBIs in the four region games.
Junior third baseman Bridgett Hampton leads the team with an on-base percentage of .488. Senior Ashley Jordan, recent Georgia Highlands commit, is hitting .318, and fellow outfielder Bailey Roberts leads the team with four extra-base hits.
Woodland’s goal is to finish first or second in the region and set themselves up for a state tournament run. They are off to a good start in accomplishing that goal.
Woodland may have some competition for the best team in the county, however, as Cartersville coach Rick Holsomback has turned around his softball program in just four years. The Lady Canes are having an excellent season at 6-3 on the season and with a 3-1 region record.
Like Woodland, the team is led by a junior pitcher. Annalyn Yantis, who has committed to Samford University, has allowed just nine runs in 42 1/3 innings of work this season. In those innings, Yantis has a remarkable 68 strikeouts. She also is having success at the plate as she leads the team in RBIs with 11. She has a .360 batting average to go along with a .467 on-base percentage.
The most impressive batting numbers on the team belong to senior Kailah Rain. Rain is hitting exactly .500 this season with five extra-base hits. She also has 5 RBIs and 8 runs scored hitting out of the second spot in the lineup.
Sophomore catcher Kennedy Bailey has some excellent numbers herself. She is hitting .409 with 10 RBIs out of the cleanup spot. First baseman Mallory Jackson has had success hitting in front of Bailey with a .385 batting average that includes five doubles.
Cartersville’s only loss in region play came against Ringgold. The Lady Canes played a close game with Ringgold on Aug. 22 and the two could be destined to meet again with the region title on the line. They are scheduled to play each other again on Sept. 17.
The biggest surprise in Bartow County’s softball scene has been the Lady Eagles of Excel Christian Academy. The team does not play a region schedule this year and has played against five junior varsity teams, but has accumulated an 8-1 record with a team mostly comprised of freshmen. The team has scored 92 runs in its nine games, boasting a lineup of seven freshman and just two seniors.
Five freshman are hitting over .300, including Shay Sullins, Brighton McCollum, Lindsey Mauldin and Aliza Baker. Lexi Adams leads the team with a .643 average. Sullins is not too far behind at .586.
Sullins has been impressive in the pitcher’s circle as well, posting a 6-1 record to go along with a 1.35 earned run average in 31 innings.
With all the young talent on his roster, head coach Chad Parker expects to compete for state championships over the next three years.
Unlike Excel, Cass came into the season with high expectations and a veteran roster. Unfortunately, the team is off to a sluggish start with a 4-10 record overall and 0-2 in its region. The Lady Colonels have lost five games in a row and will need to call on its senior leadership to get them through the tough time. It is still early in the region portion of the schedule so there is still plenty of time.
In order to change their luck, the Lady Colonels will need to improve on defense. Cass has had 30 errors so far this season.
One bright spot has been Savanna Hutchins. the junior has hit .438 with a .609 on base percentage this season. Lynnsey Hollifield, Kelsey Holloway and Lauren Womack are also all hitting over .300.
As a result, Cass still has a chance to do some damage in the second half of the season.
Adairsville, on the other hand, is playing for the future. The Lady Tigers are currently 0-6 and have been plagued by inexperience in the pitcher’s circle and mistakes in the field. Although, the team is primarily made up of young players, so there is plenty to be optimistic about in the future.