Slow, steady wins race for Brantley softball team

Published 11:15 am Thursday, February 16, 2017

It’s time once again for the Brantley High School Bulldogs and Lady Bulldogs to hit the field and take their bases.

After a season record of 38-10 and a third consecutive win of the state championships, the Lady Bulldogs are chomping at the bit to get back on the field.

“We have everybody returning this year, so we’re going to work hard and try to be back to the state tournament this year,” said BHS softball coach Cindy Hawthorne.

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“I think that we’re right where we need to be as far as being ready for the season. We’ve got some young kids that are going to be able to earn some playing time this year.”

Returning to the mound this year is junior pitcher Leanna Johnson, and taking her place in center field once again is senior Alex Wilcox; Hawthorne is positive that Wilcox will continue to lead the Lady Bulldogs as she has done in years passed.

Hawthorne also notes that freshmen players Emory Bush and Anna Catherine Kimbro have great potential to become powerhouse players for the Lady Bulldogs.

The first game for the Lady Bulldogs will be Feb. 27 in Brantley against Goshen.

“We’ve worked really hard in the off season and in the weight room with conditioning programs, so we’re pretty much right where we need to be,” Hawthorne said.

While the memory of last year’s state championship “3-Peat” win still burns within each member of the Lady Bulldogs team, Hawthorne says that before they can think of state, they must prepare for the games ahead.

“We don’t say that a whole lot during the season because there are so many goals to reach. We feel like if we do the things we’re supposed to do and take care of us, those kind of things happen,” she said.

“We just have a good group of winners, and that helps. So, it’s always in the back of their minds, but we’ll be going for a fourth state championship in a row. We just talk about doing the things we have to do in order to make us successful.”

The Brantley Bulldogs will also take to the field on Feb. 27 in their first season double header match against Straughn at home.

After making it to the playoffs last year, the Bulldogs made it to the fourth round and fell in the third game by one run.

“We’ve gotten bigger, faster and stronger, definitely, and I think there’s been a lot of improvement,” said BHS varsity baseball coach Austin Brook.

“We’re going to try to get mentally tougher.”

Brook says that he plans to see action from star player Jacob Free, senior, and also from Nathan Renfroe, Tommy Spivey, Adrian Person, Jr. and Mack Wise.

So far practices have gone well for the Bulldogs, according to Brook, and the guys are ready to show their improvement this season.