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Briarwood heads to state tourney for third straight year

It's time once again for girls' fast-pitch softball state tournament action.

And no one could be any more proud of her team than Briarwood Academy head coach Hannah DeMore.

She has good reason.

This marks the third straight year under coach DeMore's reign that the Lady Buccaneers have found themselves in the thick of the Georgia Independent Schools Association state playoffs.

Briarwood Academy was scheduled to have played Randolph Southern Academy in the best 2-of-3 game series in Shellman, Ga. on Wednesday. Shellman is located about five hours south of Warren County where Briarwood Academy is located.

Please stay connected with the breaking news website of The McDuffie Mirror for updates on how the Lady Buccaneers fair all day against Randolph Southern.

"I'm definitely proud of this team," said coach DeMore during a Monday afternoon interview. "They've really improved a lot from the time we started the season. I'm proud of the progress this team has made during the season."

Coach DeMore confessed that she was a little disappointed that her Lady Buccaneers didn't win the GISA Region 1-A title this year, "but maybe that means there are bigger and better things that await this team down the road."

She was referring to the possibility of her team winning a state championship -- something that came close to happening last season when they finished runners-up.

"I'd love it if this team won a state championship," said coach DeMore. "That would be great."

The Lady Buccaneers played for the Region 1-A Championship against the Thomas Jefferson Academy Lady Jaguars last Wednesday at Brentwood Academy in Sandersville. The game was knotted at 16-16 when play was suspended due to the field not having lights.

Because of a conflict in using the field the following afternoon to play out the game, a coin flip was done to decide where the game would be continued -- at TJA or Briarwood Academy. As it turned out, coach DeMore said Briarwood lost the flip, resulting in the game being finished at TJA

The Lady Buccaneers ended up losing 19-17 and thus finished runners-up in the region tournament.

She honestly believes her team can win a state title.

The key to winning the first-round of the state playoffs, a best of two-game series against Randolph Southern is hitting, pointed out coach DeMore.

"If we hit the ball and score runs, then I think we can go a long way in the state playoffs," she said.

"If we do those two things and play solid defense, I think we've got a good chance of going far into the state playoffs."

The team has been anchored by its three seniors this season. They include: third baseman Maria Celeste Johnson; first baseman Savannah Carani; and centerfielder Emily Henderson.

"They have done everything for us this season," said coach DeMore.

"I'm expecting them to come up big for us in the playoffs since this is their last season."

If the Lady Buccaneers are to go far into the state playoffs and possibly play for a state championship, their pitching staff will need to rise to the occasion.

The team is blessed with three talented pitchers.

They include: Maegan Bentley, a junior; Megan Smith, a sophomore; and Tiffany Pate, a freshman.

Web posted on Thursday, October 07, 2010

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