Brunswick High takes on M.L. King High today in the opening round of the Class 6A softball playoffs.
The Pirates finished the regular season off 8-12 overall and 6-6 in region play. With that finish, Brunswick is the No. 3 seed in the Region-2 6A division.
M.L. King holds a 10-4 record overall and 6-2 in their region. The Lions are the No. 2 seed in the Region 4-6A division.
Brunswick coach Nicole Bailey said the Lions were a newer Atlanta school and that the competition level would be similar to what the Pirates have seen all season.
All season long, Brunswick continued to get better, and preparation for M.L. King has been about getting back to the basics.
“We have worked on playing our game,” Bailey said. “At practice, we worked on all the fundamentals of the game, making sure we take it one play at a time.”
One of Brunswick’s biggest strengths this season has been its sophomore ace pitcher Erica Bentley.
She has pitch 78 2/3 innings giving up 99 hits, 73 runs, 25 walks, and 59 strikeouts. Bentley has also only given up one homer all year. Brunswick needs Bentley to come out hot and on target.
“We just need her to hit her spots,” Bailey said. “She has done well all season under pressure, and today’s game is no different. Our defense has worked on the little things to make sure we are fundamentally ready.”
Brunswick’s leading hitters are Alyssa Giles, Rachel Eubank, Jayla Hollinsworth, and Kalyn Harris.
Eubank is hitting .367 and has 18 hits and RBIs with four doubles, one triple, and three homers.
Giles leads the team with a .479 batting average. She has 23 hits, scored 20 runs, and has 10 RBIs this season. Six of those hits were doubles, one was a triple, and she has hit two home runs this season.
Harris batted .344 this season recording 11 runs and hits. She also has six RBIs this season. Hollinsworth batted .320 collecting 12 runs on 16 hits with eight RBIs on the year.
These four girls have made big plays throughout this year and are the reasons for a lot of the wins. If their bats get hot, Brunswick could very well see the next round of the playoffs.
Bailey has coached other places but is in her first season and playoff game at Brunswick.
“I’m very excited. The feeling of playoff softball is a wonderful thing,” Bailey said.
If Brunswick advances past M.L. King, then the Pirates will play the winner of Habersham Central and Creekview next week. The Pirates can host the next round if Habersham Central beats Creekview. However, if Creekview wins, then the Grizzlies will host.