The end result wasn’t what they had wanted, but two Cedartown recreation softball teams put it all out there to make their coaches and parents proud last week in the Georgia Recreation and Park Association state tournaments.
The Cedartown 10-and-under All-Stars made the short trek to Rockmart for their respective tournament, while the 12-and-under Cedartown squad traveled to Madison County for its state tournament.
Both teams had qualified by finishing in the top two of their District 5 tournaments the week before, with the Cedartown 10U team being named the district champion after the initial winner — Bartow County — was disqualified.
The team opened the tournament on Wednesday, June 23, and lost its first game 13-9 to Dawson County. That put them in the loser’s bracket with a long road to try and get into the finals like they had done at the district tournament.
Cedartown then faced Jefferson’s All-Stars in an elimination game and held its own early, trailing 3-5 going into the sixth inning with the timer ticking down to the final 10 minutes of the 90-minute time limit.
That’s when the Lady Bulldogs’ Mary Grace Haney connected for a three-run triple in the top sixth to give Cedartown its first lead of the game. She then added an insurance run when she scored on a passed ball that allowed her to get from third to home plate safely.
With Cedartown grasping a 7-5 lead in what would be the final half-inning of the game, Jefferson came up to bat and was able to chip away at the Lady Bulldogs’ advantage.
A run scored on a passed ball and then, with runners on second and third with two outs, a Jefferson player smacked a hit to left center field, scoring two runs and ending the game.
Cedartown coach Lance Hodgins said he couldn’t be disappointed in how the girls played and was grateful to have had the same girls the entire season and seeing them grow as players and people.
“We saw a lot of growth in the last two weeks,” Hodgins said. “The girls came alive and they came to play. We had some girls step up who don’t normally do as well as what they did here, and they showed a lot of heart. They showed a lot of heart in this state tournament and I’m proud of all of them.”
Cedartown 12U, which finished second in the District 5 tournament, was shut out by District 2 champion Wayne County 15-0 in its first game at the state tournament in Madison County last week.
The Lady Bulldogs went on to play four games in two days, blowing out South Bryan County 25-1 before getting wins over Swainsboro-Emanuel (3-1) and Jackson County (10-2).
In Cedartown’s second game on Thursday, Lee County was able to get a solid lead and hold onto it as Cedartown lost 13-1 and was eliminated. Lee County ended up losing to Wayne County in the championship match, 7-1.