Photo courtesy of Briarwood Academy Softball

The Lady Bucs celebrate with a team photo after the second win over Robert Toombs Christian Academy.

The Lady Bucs took back-to-back wins over Robert Toombs Christian Academy on Saturday, at Briarwood, and now advance to the second round of the GISA AA state playoffs. The Briarwood team, a week earlier, clinched the Region 4AA championship and now will host round two of state playoffs this Saturday.

The road to playing for a state championship, in recent years, has meant getting past Robert Toombs Christian Academy. Two years ago, the Lady Bucs traveled to Lyons and defeated Robert Toombs in a best-of-three series. The Lady Bucs advanced that year and ultimately won the AA state championship. Last year, the outcome went the other direction and Robert Toombs ended any hopes of a playoff run for Briarwood.

“The girls were focused. I think they still had a bad taste in their mouth from last year,” said Wayne Wilson, Briarwood head coach. “We hit the ball.”

In game one last weekend, Briarwood produced an 8-0 shut out. Madison Kay was on the mound for Briarwood and in six innings stuck out nine and gave up no hits.

At the plate, the Lady Bucs were good for 11 hits in the opening game and jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. Taylor VanHouse scored from third on a wild pitch to put the first point on the board but a walk soon brought Grace Bridges across the plate as well. A double by Finley Florence drove in Chloe Poss and Cameron Harrison to round out the first-inning scoring.

The Lady Bucs continued to hold Robert Toombs scoreless while adding one run in the second, two in the fourth, and one final run in the sixth inning.

Kay, Bridges, and Makenzie Newsome led the team in hits. Kay went 3-for-3, Bridges 3-for-4, and Newsome 2-for-3.

Although the Briarwood offense looked strong at the plate in game one, that was nothing compared to an 18-0 win in game two.

The Lady Bucs powered through the first inning with 13 runs. Three of those runs were courtesy of Poss’ home run, which also scored VanHouse and Bridges. Although Poss is a hard hitter, according to Wilson, this was her first home run othe season.

“She hit one out there into the playground. She crushed it,” said Wilson.

The Lady Bucs ended game two with 19 hits and 15 RBIs from 29 trips to the plate. Kay and Poss had three hits apiece. VanHouse, Bridges, Newsome, and Ashley Nail each had two hits. Poss and Lacey Dyson each led in RBIs with three each.

Poss recorded seven strikeouts in the three-inning game.

“Like I said earlier in the year we’re going to have to pitch well and score runs to win, and that’s what kind of what’s happened,” Wilson said. “Our pitchers have pitched well.”

Kay has a .9 ERA, the second best in all classifications in GISA softball. One of the Windsor Academy pitchers is just one percentage point ahead of Kay, Wilson said.

And those two teams, Briarwood and Windsor Academy will face each other this weekend in a best-of-three series with the winner moving on to the state title game.

The first two games are set for 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. on Saturday with a third game, if needed, on the following Monday.

“They’re always pretty good and have good pitching. We’re just going to have to put the ball in play and do our thing — hit and run,” said Wilson.

If the Lady Bucs take two from Windsor they will move on to the state championship, which this year is not being held at Mercer University. Because of the university operating sporting venues at only 20 percent capacity, the GISA has moved the championship games to a recreation complex in Dublin.

The first game will be Thursday, Oct. 22, and then game two and if needed game three will both be on Saturday, Oct. 24.

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