The rematch after a big win is always a challenge, according to Flowery Branch softball coach Laura Novotny-Beaver.
On Thursday, the Lady Falcons (10-5, 8-1 Region 7-4A) put their coaches worries at ease with a 4-1 win against Chestatee in Gainesville. Just two days prior, Flowery Branch coasted to a 15-0 win against their region rival.
“It’s hard to come off a game when you ended in three innings and get them mentally ready,” Novotny-Beaver said. “We told them Chestatee is a quality team and you got to come out and play to your level and not take anything for granted.”
Alyssa Kimbrell steered the victory with 10 strikeouts from the circle for Flowery Branch, which included pitching out of a bases-loaded jam before the first out was recorded in the sixth inning.
The Lady Falcons preserved their 4-1 lead late in the game when Kimbrell recorded a pair of strikeouts, as well as forcing out the Lady War Eagles (3-10, 0-6) lead runner at the plate on a sacrifice attempt down the first-base line.
“We played well in that inning when we had the bases loaded and nobody out,” Novotny-Beaver said. “I think it showed their defense and their tenacity.”
Flowery Branch’s Valerie Eder tied it at 1-1 in the second inning with an inside-the-park homer. Eder was given the time needed to clear the bases when Chestatee’s outfielder dropped the ball and couldn’t get a grasp on it for the relay.
Then in the third inning, the Lady Falcons took a 2-1 lead when Aubrey Bourrie scored from first on Gentry Hammock’s triple.
“She (Bourrie) has really good base running instincts,” Novotny-Beaver said. “We teach them they have to read that ball out of the pitchers hand and read what happens to the ball on the dirt and she made a good read and turn out well for us.”
Hammock drove in the final two runs with a two-run triple to center field.
Chestatee scored first with a single from Katilyn Babb down the third-base line, scoring Katie Palmeiri from second base. Babb was out at second base on the relay throw, trying to stretch her hit to a double.
Flowery Branch hosts Central at 6:45 p.m. tonight, while Chestatee visits Fannin County on Tuesday in Blue Ridge.