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Lady Panthers fall to Millry, Brantley

The Georgiana Lady Panthers took to Gulf Shores last weekend in search of not only a ticket to the Class 1A Softball State Tournament, but also experience.

And though the Lady Panthers failed to achieve the former, they gained a valuable dose of the latter.

A scorching hot Brantley softball team hit everything that came their way on the plate Thursday, mounting an 18-2 win over the Lady Panthers.

Georgiana lost game two to another area winner in Millry, but Georgiana head softball coach Ezell Powell said that his players still gained a great deal from the losses.

“We’re just trying to get the young girls to understand the level of competition you have to face and be able to compete with day in and day out to be a really good softball team,” Powell said.

“Sometimes, we play teams that aren’t the best and you’ll win and start thinking that you’re a pretty good team—until you get in a situation like that where you have the best of the best vying for a chance to go on to the state tournament.  Then, you realize how far away you still are.”

Powell added that his team’s vast improvement in the past two years is proof positive that his players will be ready to face the next echelon of competition in the coming season.

Appropriately, the Lady Panthers’ regular season schedule will be tougher than last year’s to prepare for tough situations throughout the year.

“That’s what helps you in situations like that—when you get down there, it’s not the first time you’re having to compete and play to win close ball games against quality teams,” Powell said.

Regardless of the outcome, Powell said that he was happy with his players’ performances.

“I’m proud of them and of the effort that they put in,” Powell added.

“We’ve been open and honest with each other all year long, so they understand where we were and the caliber of opponents we were playing.  And they understand the importance of being fundamentally sound and pitching and hitting in game situations.”

Powell believes that the tough lessons taught in the final stretch of this season should pave the way for an even more successful future.

“I think this (year’s next team) will probably be the best all-round softball team that Georgiana has had since we started fast pitch,” Powell said.

“We have girls that play all the way around, so I think that we’ll be competitive for next year compared to where we’ve been in the past two years, so I’m pretty excited about it.”