In one week, the Thomson High School Lady Bulldogs have gone from the No. 10 ranked girls' softball team in the Class AAA state polls to No. 6.
Before this season, it was a feat never before accomplished by softball players at the school.
"It's nice to be recognized as one of the best teams in the state, but when you are, it's like walking around with a big target on your back, too," said Thomson head coach Jason Osborn. "Everybody wants to bump you off."
One such team was successful in their quest to do just that last week. West Laurens handed Thomson only their second loss of the season -- a 4-1 setback. The Lady Raiders, the defending Region 3-AAA champions, took advantage of some mistakes by the Lady Bulldogs in bumping them off before a large crowd at the Thomson field and a live radio audience.
The only run that Thomson scored in the game came from senior catcher Hannah Pereda, who slammed her sixth homerun of the season over the center field fence in the bottom of the fifth inning.
"We didn't play as well defensively as we've been playing and we didn't hit the ball as well either," lamented Coach Osborn.
Things were much different last Wednesday for the Thomson team as they played host to Aquinas High School from Augusta. The Lady Bulldogs walloped the visitors 16-1 in a game that was called before the third inning was finished because of the 15-run rule.
"We played a lot better in that game," said Coach Osborn.
Thomson sophomore pitcher Maegan Bentley got the opportunity to redeem herself after suffering the loss to West Laurens the day before. After the Lady Bulldogs established a big lead, Bentley was replaced on the mound by relief pitcher Brooke Herkel, who normally plays second base.
The only run given up by Bentley in the game against Aquinas came in the top of the second inning. During her two innings, Bentley faced a total of nine batters, yielding three hits while striking out four batters.
Thomson struck for two runs in the bottom of the first inning before exploding for 10 runs on eight hits in the bottom of the second inning.
The Lady Bulldogs' first two runs were scored by senior center fielder Heather Shivers, who led off with a triple into left field and junior shortstop Hannah Wilson, who hit an infield single. Shivers scored on an error, while Wilson was driven home on a RBI single by Herkel.
Others with hits in that game for the Lady Bulldogs included: Shivers, a three-run double; Tasha Seals, a RBI single; Wilson, a two-run homerun -- her third of the season and a two-run single; Hannah Pereda, a single; Herkel, an infield single; Haley Poss, a RBI single and a double; Sharlette Farmer, a RBI single; and Shannon Chalker, a pair of infield singles.