It was undoubtedly a season to remember for the Lady Bulldogs.
Cedartown softball may have lost to Flowery Branch in recent days in the first round of the GHSA State Playoffs, but that is the last thing on the mind of any supporters of the program.
The 2019 season was a story of perseverance for a Cedartown program that once again found itself prominent on a statewide level.
The Lady Bulldogs, under first year Head Coach Eddie Gambrell, finished 18-17 overall. After a grueling non-region schedule that had them fully prepared for region foes, Cedartown went 8-4 in Region 5-4A play. Cedartown finished just shy of clinching a two-seed in the region, and thus relied on the region tournament to get into the playoffs.
After dropping game one to Troup County, Cedartown outscored the Lady Tigers 24-8 in the final two games of the best-of-three series to clinch a playoff spot. They earned the three-seed with their legendary comeback over Chapel Hill, in which Cedartown trailed by 9 runs in the sixth inning.
As the three-seed of Region 5-4A, the Lady Bulldogs would be on the road to meet the two-seed in Region 7-4A: Flowery Branch. The Lady Falcons are a perennial powerhouse in northeast Georgia, but a young Cedartown team gave them all they could handle.
In game one, missed opportunities came back to haunt the Lady Bulldogs as Flowery Branch won 3-1. Game two was a completely different story, as the Cedartown offense exploded to annihilate the Lady Falcons 14-4. Game three wound up being a 7-4 Flowery Branch win, effectively bringing an end to Cedartown’s season.
Gambrell was very proud of his team’s effort all year.
“The whole season was a blessing for me. I had so much fun getting to know them,” said Gambrell. “I definitely think that the season overall was a success.”
“What’s most important is that we have the opportunity to be even better next year,” said the first-year Head Coach. “I think the girls now understand the expectations on them, and that they can get even better from here on out. I was very pleased in the state playoffs, getting them to compete the way they did. I think they now realize that they can compete with anyone but have to come ready and bring it every single day.”
He added, “I hate it ended as soon as it did. I already miss it. As a two-sport coach, I am preparing for basketball, and I love them all too. In fact, we are going to be playing some of the softball players in basketball this season. But, as is the duty, I’m already planning for next year, coming off such a great season like we had.”
Those who followed the season this year should remember the close losses to Central, Cartersville, and Flowery Branch. Fans should also look back on the high points as well: the unbelievable comeback over Chapel Hill, the no-hitter of Sandy Creek, and the run-rules of great teams like Decatur, Troup County, and Flowery Branch.
Cedartown’s 2019 season had tons of ups and downs for Lady Bulldogs softball. However, the one thing that was consistent was the effort of the girls. Going forward, it is safe to say the program is in good hands.
This young team will most definitely be back.