MILLEDGEVILLE — Dominating the first round of the Georgia High School Association Class A Public School State Tournament, Georgia Military College Prep softball now looks ahead to the Elite Eight beginning today in Columbus against Treutlen County.
The No. 1 ranked Lady Bulldogs will face a strong opponent this morning, as the ninth-seed Lady Vikings tout a 21-12 overall record on the season.
“They've got a good record,” Julie Brooker, head coach, said. “We're trying to stick to what we do, focus on playing our game and playing our best softball.”
According to Brooker, the girls have anticipated this day since falling to Gordon Lee in the state championship game last season.
“Everybody's really excited. They are ready,” she said. “We've been waiting on this day for a long time.”
While most of the players last season had very limited varsity experience, Brooker said this year’s squad goes into the state tournament with a two seasons of varsity playing time under the team’s belt.
“I would just like to reiterate experience and practice. We've had a whole year to work and get better,” she said. “Last year everything was so new — I was a new coach, most of the girls were first-year varsity players, and now we've had a year to get to know each other and grow together.”
The confident head coach believes the team chemistry is what will take the Lady Bulldogs to the next level this time around.
“Our strength overall, is our team chemistry and just how good I feel about all 12 players,” Brooker said. “I'm confident with how we're swinging the bat and our pitching — I mean we're strong in a lot of different areas, but the one thing holding us together is the team chemistry.”
Having gone 22-3 in the regular season, GMC Prep appears to have no missing links heading into today’s matchup with the Lady Vikings.
“I've coached a lot of teams, and obviously you can feel like something's missing, but I just don't feel like anything is missing this year,” Brooker said.
GMC Prep will take the field against Treutlen at 10:30 a.m. today, with the winner of the contest playing again at 6 p.m. and the loser playing Friday at 9 a.m., as the state tournament is double elimination.
A state champion will be named Saturday — the final day of the tournament.
“We're taking one pitch at a time and one game at a time,” Brooker said, “and we'll see what happens.”
Updates from the GHSA Class A Public School State Tournament will be posted at www.unionrecorder.com at the end of each day.