As the fourth-seeded Rebelettes (8-20) travel to Blackshear today for a 4 p.m. doubleheader against the No. 3 team in the state and top-seeded Pierce County, they do so with a little momentum. In the Region 4-AAA Tournament, HC got a 22-0 win against Douglass to give it a shot for a tournament berth. The Rebelettes came through with a 9-8, extra-inning win against Callaway to make a return trip to the Class AAA state playoffs.
"This is just the second time we've ever been and Callaway had beat us twice during the regular season and when we went down there for the region tournament, the kids knew the position we were in," HC coach Lisa Warren said. "Callaway, I felt like Callaway was a team we could beat all season long, and I told the girls it's hard to beat a team three times and that held true for us."
The path in 2010 — the last time the Rebelettes reached the state playoffs — went through perennial power Oconee County, which swept HC in the opening round led by the 2011 Gatorade National Softball Player of the Year, Geri Ann Glasco . This year's trip to face No. 3 Pierce County (23-7) won't be much easier.
Coming in as the Region 1-AAA champions, the Lady Bears have beaten every team on their schedule but three. Two losses came against Tattnall County and another two game against Southeast Bulloch — teams Pierce County then went on to beat in the region tournament.
Pierce County reminds Warren a lot of the team that beat her Rebelettes, 8-0, to start the Region 4-AAA Tournament.
"I'm thinking along the lines that Pierce County is going to be a lot like Chapel Hill. They're going to have good pitching, [and] hopefully, offensively, they aren't going to score a ton of runs. They're well-coached and from what I understand they have two really good pitchers. Hopefully, we can get the bats going on that day," Warren said.
Throughout the season, the Rebelettes had some road trips, but none compare to the more than five-hour trip to Blackshear in the southeast corner of the state.
"Well, it's going to be a tough travel for us. I'm looking at over five hours on the bus. We practiced [Monday] and we're out [Tuesday] for fall break. We're just going to get up early, try to take our time and make a couple of stops along the way. It's always tough to travel," Warren said. "Hopefully, we get off the bus fired up and ready to play."
Even though the Rebelettes might not impress people on paper with just an 8-20 record, they are playing well at the right time — and with a little extra motivation. Tara Cobb, Lindsey Rutherford and Savannah McKinzey are playing in their final season and want it to keep going.
"It's exciting because we've got three seniors and we haven't had a great year overall with our record. I think they got fired up towards the end of the season and they weren't quite ready for it to end just yet," Warren said.