The Lady Bulldogs of Thomson High School are proving everyday that hard work and dedication are keys to a winning softball program.
"We've been playing some pretty good softball lately," said Thomson head coach Jason Osborn. "We just need to stay after it and stay focused."
Speaking of the word focused, that's exactly what the Thomson team did against the visiting Westside High Lady Patriots at the Thomson field last Tuesday. As a result, Thomson blanked Westside 10-0 to win their eighth game of the season to go with just one loss.
Junior shortstop Hannah Wilson led the Lady Bulldogs with three big hits -- a triple, a two-run double and a grand slam. She drove in six runs -- her biggest offensive output thus far this season.
"She's really attacking the ball right now," Osborn said.
Senior pitcher Chelsea Reeves, who has been playing first base in recent games, stayed on the mound for the first three innings before being relieved by Brooke Herkel, who pitched the last two innings. Reeves faced a total of 10 batters and struck out four batters, while giving up no hits.
Herkel gave up the only hit Westside got in the game. A single was given up to the second batter she faced in the top of the fourth. Herkel struck out two batters and gave up a walk.
Thomson, meanwhile, wasted no time collecting runs. They scored three runs in the first, two in the second and five in the third.
Wilson got things started with a one-out triple in the first inning before racing home on an errant throw by the Westside shortstop. Herkel later reached on a two-out single before Reeves drew a walk.
Freshman third baseman Jadah Lawson then smashed a two-run double into right field that scored Herkel and courtesy runner Miranda Barker and gave the Lady Bulldogs a 3-0 lead.
In the bottom of the second, Thomson tallied two more runs to increase their lead to 5-0. Left fielder Shannon Chalker, who just returned from battling the flu, hit a one-out single up the middle before senior center fielder Heather Shivers lined a double into left field. Wilson followed with a two-run double into the left center field gap. Wilson was left stranded on the base path when senior catcher Hannah Pereda hit an infield fly and Herkel grounded out.
Thomson erupted for five runs in the third to up their lead to 10-0. All five of those runs scored following two outs. Reeves grounded out to lead off the inning, while Lawson popped out to the Westside second baseman. Freshman Haley Poss then reached on an error before being lifted by courtesy runner Shay Price.
Right fielder Tasha Seals followed with an infield bunt before Chalker walked to load the bases. Shivers then picked up the easiest RBI possible by walking. Price scored on the play.
Wilson then drilled her grand slam over the right center field fence, which all but sealed the fate of the Lady Patriots.
Coverage of the Lady Bulldogs match-ups against the Washington County Lady Golden Hawks in Sandersville as well as a double-header against the Harlem Lady Bulldogs will be included in the sports section next week.