Softball crushes first playoff round; falls to Walnut Grove in second


The seniors on the softball team made it to the second round of the state playoffs in their freshman and senior years, a “full circle,” according to senior Erin Reed.

With 6-4 and 6-5 wins over Southwest Dekalb on Wednesday, Oct. 11, Decatur’s softball team advanced past the first round of the state playoffs. This two-game series sweep launched the Bulldogs into a Sweet 16 home matchup against Walnut Grove at Oakhurst Park on Wednesday, Oct. 18.

After losing in their first round playoff games against Flowery Branch last season, the team knew they could advance farther into the playoffs this year, according to junior Lauren Smith.

Each round of the state softball playoffs functions in a best two-out-of-three series format, where the team who wins two games moves on to the next round. In winning two straight games, the Bulldogs replicated their results of the prior week, when they beat North Springs to win the Region 6-AAAAA championship.

In contrast to the first-round state playoffs victory, the softball team received motivation from previous opposition to win the region championship.

Oakhurst Park has two fields, so the third place games were played during the championship games. Because these games finished earlier than the championship games, Lithia Springs’ team watched the championship game and started cheering for North Springs, according to Smith.

“That gave us a whole lot of fire and fight in our hearts,” Smith said. “Why would they do that? I was infuriated and I was ready to hit the ball so hard.”

Having a home-field advantage throughout the region and state playoffs helped the team have their own “support system,” according to senior Erin Reed.

Junior Lauren Smith pitched five strikeouts in Decatur’s only blemish in the region tournament, a 1-3 loss to Lithia Springs.  Photos courtesy of Keson Graham

On Wednesday, Oct. 18, the Bulldogs ended their season with two losses to Walnut Grove. After the game, the seniors realized this was the last time they would play together, according to Reed.

“It feels like the end of an era,” Reed said. “Everyone on the team, they’re all my best friends, they’re all like family to me. It’s going to be different not seeing them everyday.”

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