The Lady Dogs of Georgia Military College Prep School beat Mt. Zion 14-6 Friday in Columbus to punch their ticket in the Class A State Championship softball game.
The feisty, determined bunch of young Lady Dogs continue to play the brand of softball under first year head coach Julie Brooker. The Lady Dogs will face either Mt. Zion or Gordon Lee, who face each other in an elimination game earlier Saturday to see who has the right to play GMC in the championship game.
The game started slowly for both teams offensively, as neither could muster a run in the first two innings, Starting the third in tied at 0-0 the Lady Dogs came to bat hoping to break through first. Dixie Raley walked to start the inning, followed by a Keely Murner hi and a Sutton Long RBI single. Karlie Harding then had a fielders choice.
Lauren Pearson had a two-RBI single to put GMC up 3-0, before Jessica Hayles finished off the scoring with an RBI single.
Leading 4-0, Mt. Zion then scored three runs of their own to make it 4-3. In the fourth, Dixie Raley had a single and scored on a bomb of the bat of Sutton Long to deep left field for a two-run home run and 6-3 GMC advantage. Macy Watkins walked and gave way to Courtney Cox to run, but she was stranded on base before she could score. Mt. Zion then scored two more to cut it again to a one run GMC lead at 6-5.
The fifth inning saw Whitley Dunn single followed by Raley and Taylor long also getting hits. Dunn then scored on a Sutton Long double, making it 7-5 GMC. Sarah Margret Mason came in to relieve Macy Watkins in the fifth inning and shut down the opponents from there. Hayles reached base on an error in the sixth and made Mt. Zion pay as she came all the way around to score.
Kaylie Harding (single to get on) also scored as she used her ability to force the defense into a bad play and throw as she raced home with the ninth run for GMC.
Now up 9-5 going into the seventh and final inning, the Lady Dogs, who had been yelling and cheering for each other since the opening pitch, once again put the game out of reach. After two quick outs, S. Long singled, Karlie Harding reached on an error, followed by a Mason RBI single. Lauren Pearson then was hit by a pitch for the second night in a row and gave way to Maddie Allen to pinch run.
Hayles was then walked, producing an RBI. Ashley Vinson laced a single to right field, knocking in two big runs and a 13-5 GMC advantage. Dunn then had an RBI single for the final Lady Dog run, making it 14-5. Mt. Zion then plated one run, and a final score of 14-6 GMC propel the Lady Dogs into the Championship game of the Class A title game.
“This has been a total team effort. No matter if its a starter, someone warming up a relief pitcher or a pinch runner or hitter, these girls have stepped up,” said head coach Julie Brooker after the game. When asked after the game if she had plans to do anything different tomorrow, she responded with a sly smile: “No. We are gonna just keep playing Lady Dog softball, support each other and let it happen. And hopefully good things will continue to happen.”
So Saturday at 11:20 a.m., the Lady Dogs of GMC play to bring home a state championship to their school, their community and to have memories that will last them a lifetime. God luck, Lady Dogs, on your endeavors Saturday.