But all it did was turn around and win a ICSGA — Independent Christian Schools of Georgia-Alabama — state championship at Grissom Field of Dreams in Conyers on May 5, marking the first in the program's young history.
The Lady Stallions had just three seniors on the team — only one that started — no juniors and the rest were eighth through 10th-graders. That young, inexperienced group went on to knock off the seven-time state champions in Harvester Christian and bring home the first ring in not only the three-year softball program, but for the school.
"Not only did we win, but we beat the seven-time champion. They had a lot more experience, a lot of older girls. We're only going to lose one starter and two other girls that didn't start. Everybody else should be back, very young. The highlight to next year, we won't even have a senior," HG Athletic Director Jamie Perry said. "So that's very exciting."
Holy Ground found itself down early and was able to come back and then fight off a comeback attempt to retain the 6-5 lead and earn the state championship victory.
Harvester Christian took an early 2-0 lead and led 3-1 in the game before the Lady Stallions tied the game at 3-all before taking the 4-3 lead in the fourth and would extend it to 6-3 in the fifth. The Lady Hawks scored a pair of runs in the bottom of the seventh to make it a one-run game, but HG closed it out for the win and title.
"The girls were the opposite of the [baseball team], their bats were live. They put the ball in play all weekend, made the other team make plays and capitalized on some errors. We made some uncommon errors in the first inning of the championship game, missed a couple of fly balls to give them the lead, which you would think, with our youth, that that might get them down," Perry said.
"They played with a lot of heart, didn't get down and took the lead back. Had a little scare there in the end. Harvester scored a couple and made it close and the girls stepped up again and held them off."
The way the team responded in the title game, the age of the team and the youth of the program says a lot about where Holy Ground Athletics is going. The softball team's accomplishment will be honored during halftime of one of the football team's games in the fall.
"I think it says something about those girls being that age. And when I say young, I'm talking eighth and ninth and 10th-graders that played like they had been playing four years of varsity softball. It's really created a lot of excitement with our first state championship, first banner. We ordered rings and they're real excited about that," Perry said. "We'll honor them at one of our first football games and honor [the team] and give [the rings] out. The girls are really excited."