The Brantley Lady Bulldogs gave head softball coach Cindy Hawthorne state championship rings in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2018. Now she has one for the thumb!
The top-ranked Brantley Lady Bulldogs reinforced their status as one of Alabama’s top high school softball programs last week with a dominating run through the AHSAA Class 1A state softball tournament to claim their fifth state championship in the past seven years.
“We were just trying to come back and leave everything on the field since we didn’t get to play last year,” said Coach Cindy Hawthorne. “We knew we had a bullseye on our back every time we took the field, but our motto all season was to finish strong. We only had two seniors on this year’s team, and what a way for them to go out! We’ve just been blessed here at Brantley and it has been a real blessing to coach these girls.”
Brantley opened the eight-team state tournament on Tuesday morning with a big 10-0 win over Cedar Bluff. The Lady Bulldogs pulled ahead early and pulled away late, as they opened up a 4-0 lead in the third inning and added six runs in their final two at-bats. Kayden Dunn had 2 hits, including a home run, scored 3 runs and knocked in 2 runs to lead the Lady Bulldogs at the plate, while Kaylee Navarre added 2 hits, scored 2 runs and had 1 rbi; Ainsley Watts added 2 hits, including a triple, and scored 2 runs; and, Campbell Hawthorne added 2 hits and scored 2 runs. Kaylee Navaree was the winning pitcher as she tossed a complete game 2-hit shutout with 17 strikeouts.
Brantley tangled with Skyline in the second game of opening day action and posted a hard-earned 4-2 win. The Lady Bulldogs scored three runs in the middle innings of the game to break a 1-1 tie and held on for the exciting win. Ainsley Watts had 2 hits, including a double, and 2 rbi’s to lead the Lady Bulldogs at the plate, while Sheonte Barginere added a double, scored 2 runs and had 1 rbi; Campbell Hawthorne added 1 hit and 1 rbi; and, Kayden Dunn and Lauren Hudson both added 1 hit. Kaylee Navarre picked up her second win of the day inside the circle as she pitched a complete game 3-hitter with 11 strikeouts.
Brantley took the field for its third game of the day in the winner’s bracket finals and continued to add up the wins as it claimed an impressive 7-2 win over Appalachian. The Lady Bulldogs trailed 2-0 early, but came battling back as they used a 3-run outburst in the third inning to grab a 4-2 lead and then added 3 more runs in the seventh to seal the deal on the win. Kaylee Navarre had 3 hits, scored 2 runs and had 2 rbi’s to lead the Lady Bulldogs at the plate, while Lauren Hudson added 2 hits and scored 1 run; Kayden Dunn added a double, scored 1 run and had 2 rbi’s; and, Ainsley Watts added 1 hit, scored 1 run and had 1 rbi. Kaylee Navaree got the win inside the circle as she pitched seven innings and allowed one earned run on three hits, while recording 13 strikeouts.
Brantley jumped ahead early on a 3-run homer by Kayden Dunn and then pulled away late to claim the state title with an impressive 11-3 win over Skyline, Wednesday night at Oxford. The Lady Bulldogs took command early on the first of Dunn’s two home runs of the game, and then scored seven runs in their final two trips to the plate to put an exclamation mark on the state title win. Ainsley Watts had 3 hits, including a home run and a double, scored 2 runs and knocked in 4 runs to spark the Lady Bulldogs at the plate, while Kayden Dunn blasted two home runs, scored 3 runs and had 4 rbi’s; Lauren Hudson added two doubles and scored 2 runs; Sheonte Barginere added 1 hit, a home run, scored 2 runs and had 1 rbi; and, Campbell Hawthorne added 1 hit and scored 2 runs. Kaylee Navarre was the winning pitcher as she scattered seven hits in seven innings, allowed three earned runs and recorded seven strikeouts.