The Union Recorder

September 18, 2013

GMC Prep softball earns No. 1 ranking

Steven Cary
The Union-Recorder

MILLEDGEVILLE — Taking down top-ranked opponents over the weekend, Georgia Military Prep School’s softball team competed in the Mark Moseley Memorial Diamond Classic in Evans and went 3-1 on the weekend.

GMC Prep highlighted the weekend with a 9-0 win against Madison County, the second ranked Class-AAAA school in the state, and a 10-1 victory over eighth ranked AAA team, Franklin County.

“They were definitely a surprise. I did think we could play with them, and I did think they would be close ball games and it could go either way,” Julie Brooker, head coach, said. “I was thinking they would be close ball games, and win or lose, they would make us better.”

Currently ranked first in the power rankings for Class-A public schools with a 14-2 overall record, Brooker admits the Lady Bulldogs are well ahead of where they were at this point last year.

“I think this is where I was hoping we would be. I would say we’re further along than we were this time last year,” she said. “I’m really proud the team has gelled together and how our chemistry has improved. I feel like our players are more relaxed and having more fun, and the pressure at the beginning of the season of trying to prove yourself has dissolved a little bit.”

The team chemistry paid off for the girls Friday and Saturday, as all 12 players contributed to the team in some capacity.

“Every single player has stepped up at one time or another. I think it’s rare to have every single person on the roster is a contributor,” Brooker said. “I would say especially offensively, because we had different players getting hits throughout the weekend.”

GMC Prep’s sophomore trio of Taylor Long, Sutton Long and Whitley Dunn continued to help the team with their offensive prowess.

According to Brooker, the intensity of the three sophomores carried over to the rest of the team last weekend.

“All three of them have stepped up,” she said. “They’re sophomores but they play like seniors and they have a confidence about them that carries over to the entire team.”

Long’s best performance in the tournament came against Franklin County on Saturday as she went 3-for-4 at the plate with two doubles, an RBI and two runs scored, with Dunn’s best coming in the same contest when she snagged two hits and an RBI.

Other notable performances on offense came with Kaylie Harding and Jessica Hayles in game four against Harlem, as Harding had a key RBI single and Hayles an RBI in the eighth inning to seal the fait for the Lady Bulldogs.

Taylor Long led GMC Prep in all three games with two home runs in the tournament against Madison County and Franklin County.

“This weekend she really got in a rhythm and feeling really comfortable at the plate,” Brooker said. “She was seeing the ball well and good things happened for her.”

On the mound it was Dixie Raley who led the Lady Bulldogs in the tournament, as she picked up all three wins, with two victories against top ranked opponents and a 2-1 win over the host team, Harlem, in the final contest.

“Pitching-wise, we’ve been working through injury with Dixie, and for her to come out and perform the way she did is impressive,” Brooker said. “I was really, really proud of Dixie because that was the first time she’s pitched back-to-back games.”

Brooker said she believes the performance of the girls in the tournament is a good indicator of where the team is at right now in the season.

“I was very pleased to come out and win three of four, especially with the competition we were up against,” she said. “I think it was exactly what we needed to see where we were at.”