Briarwood Academy’s Ashley Nail connects with a ball as she and the Lady Bucs work in the batting cage Monday afternoon.

The Briarwood Academy Lady Bucs sealed a third-consecutive GISA 4AA region championship last week with their 11-0 win over Thomas Jefferson Academy.

Briarwood has a first-round bye as state playoffs begin. The first games are set for Tuesday, Oct. 15. Briarwood will not play until Saturday, Oct. 19.

Wayne Wilson, Lady Bucs head coach, said more than likely his girls will be facing Robert Toombs Christian Academy in round two. Last year Briarwood traveled to Robert Toombs and won the first game but dropped the second. The game-three win then advanced the Lady Bucs.

Briarwood, the defending AA state champions, returns much of the team from last year despite signing four of last year’s seniors to Division I schools.

“We have our entire infield basically, except for catcher. We had to replace our catcher and our center fielder,” Wilson said.

Moving through the playoff rounds, Wilson expects all the teams will have tough pitching.

“Pitching’s going to be big. When you start getting down to the final four, every one of them’s got good pitching staff. You’re going to have to hit the ball consistently,” he said.

Briarwood’s effectiveness at the plate has improved since early in the year, according to the coach.

“We get enough quality at bats and our younger girls are starting to put the ball in play with more regularity,” he said.

The teams he sees in the  mix during playoffs are Robert Toombs, Windsor Academy, Southewest Georgia, and Piedmont. In the past two years, Briarwood and Piedmont met at the state championship. This year, according, to Wilson, Piedmont has graduated seven seniors but still has several solid players.

Briarwood heads into the playoff run with depth on the mound. The pitching staff includes Chloe Wilson, Chloe Poss, Madison Kay and Madeline Jackson, who has not pitched as much this year but is capable when needed.

As the Lady Bucs prepare, Wilson said they will get in some good practice hitting against their teammates.

“We are going to do a lot of inter-squad scrimmages and they’ll be seeing our pitching staff, which is probably one of the better ones,” Wilson said.

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