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Softball state playoffs: Cherokee Bluff rolls past Greater Atlanta Christian in first-round, doubleheader sweep
Herren threw a no-hitter and one-hitters for the Lady Bears in 12-0 and 17-0 wins
Cherokee Bluff's Lauren Rule (2) is greeted at the plate after a home run against Greater Atlanta Christian in Game 1 of the first-round playoff series Oct. 13, 2021 in Flowery Branch. Photo by Bill Murphy

Taking things one game at a time is exactly what every team focuses on when it comes to postseason play.

Cherokee Bluff High’s softball team was locked in to take two games and advance in the first round of the Class 3A state tournament.

On Wednesday, the Bears took care of business sweeping Greater Atlanta Christian, 12-0 in Game 1 and 17-0 in Game 2, in the best-of-three-series in Flowery Branch.

Up next, Cherokee Bluff (23-6) visits Appling County, starting with another doubleheader Monday in a best-of-three series.

“Coming down those last couple of weeks in region, we told the girls one game at a time,” Bears Daniel Warzon said. “That’s all we could worry about, which was the game in front of us. That was the same mentality tonight. We had two team wins tonight.”

Immediately after taking the first game in four innings, Warzon told his players between games to put that game behind them and focus on the next game. Those girls locked in immediately and unleashed an offensive onslaught in the second game.

Things opened up for them in the third inning where Cherokee Bluff batted around and scored 15 runs in the frame. The carousel of hits, mixed in with some defensive miscues by the Lady Spartans, allowed for a run-rule shortened game.

It also helped that pitcher Izzy Herren was flawless in the pitching circle. 

She threw a no-hitter in the first game. The senior followed that up with a one-hitter in the second game.

“Izzy has been a Bulldog for us,” Warzon said. “She has thrown a lot of innings for us. She has gone out there game after game and gave it her all. That’s exactly what she did coming out tonight. She knew the ball was in her hand and she took care of business.”

Herren was not just efficient on the mound, but was also solid at the plate. She hit two homers and had six RBIs on the night. The first was in Game 1, which hit the top of the left centerfield fence. This is when the first game scoring heated up the Bears offense on a comfortable evening outdoors.

Lauren Rule knocked in four runs after drilling two home runs through two games. Kate Herren had three hits and six RBIs. Tally Ragone took part in the base-hit parade with three hits.

This collective team effort is exactly what Warzon has been looking for on the season.

“(The dugout) kinda erupted (after Izzy’s first homer),” he said. “It got us going and comfortable. Early in the games have been our struggle. We’re slow to start, but once we get going, our girls come alive.”

Next week is huge for Cherokee Bluff. A series win would send the Lady Bears to the state tournament in Columbus for the first time in school history.

“We’re going to enjoy tonight,” he said. “But we will start planning tomorrow.”


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