2005 Article Archive – February/March

Encouraging showing in season opener

Kennesaw, Ga. – February 16, 2005 – It is always tough to be encouraged after a loss, but West Georgia’s losses to second-ranked Kennesaw State Wednesday had several things to be happy about. The Owls won the first game 9-1 and the second 10-4.

In 2004, the West Georgia softball team had nearly three months to play before playing a powerful Kennesaw team. The Braves managed just six hits in two games and two runs. In the season opener for West Georgia Wednesday against the mighty Lady Owls, the Braves had a run on four hits in the first game and four runs on six hits in the nightcap.

The Braves had trouble getting hits against KSU starter Lisa Lamb in the opener while Tara Gober struggled early. The freshman gave up eight runs on six hits while walking five.

In game two, West Georgia broke through in the third innings with four runs. The major blow was by senior Ryan Cochran, who blasted a three-run home run in the inning. Cochran was 1-for-4 in the game with a run scored and three RBI.

Kristen Howard was the game two starter, going six innings ang giving up 10 runs on 10 hits. On the afternoon, Mary Carlisle was strong at the plate, going 3-for-4 with a run scored. Bowdon product Jessica Sanders had a good day in her first time out, going 2-for-7 with an RBI and a run scored.

West Georgia’s next action comes this weekend in the annual Braves’ Invitational. Games begin Friday at 11:00 a.m. at the Duff.

Braves win five straight in Invitational

Carrollton, Ga. – February 19, 2005 – The West Georgia Braves finished the 2005 Braves Invitational with an umblemished record in this year’s event. The Braves took down Benedict and Clark-Atlanta today.

For West Georgia, a freshman, sophomore and senior are fueling the high-powered offense. While sophomore Mary Carlisle leads the team witha .708 batting average, freshman Jessica Sanders is tops with five home runs. Sanders and senior Ryan Cochran are both hitting .480, tied for second on the team, while Carlisle has blasted four dingers on the year.

Sanders went yard three times today and Carlisle twice to power the Braves to a 9-1 and 13-0 win over Clark-Atlanta and Benedict, respectively. Tara Gober kept Benedict off-balance for her third win of the season.

University of West Georgia 2005 Braves Invitational Friday, February 18, 2005

Red Field 11:00 UWG 19, Benedict 5 3::00 UWG 13, Clark-Atlanta 1 5:00 UWG 8 Georgia Southwestern 7 Yellow Field 11:00 Alabama-Huntsville 19, Clark-Atlanta 0 1:00 Alabama-Huntsville 3, Georgia Southwestern 0 5:00 Alabama-Huntsville 9 Benedict 1 Maroon Field 11:00 Georgia Southwestern 14, West Alabama 4 1:00 West Alabama 9, Benedict 2 5:00 West Alabama 10, Clark-Atlanta 2 Saturday, February 19, 2005 Red Field 12:00 UWG 9, Clark-Atlanta 1 2:00 UWG 13, Benedict 0 Yellow Field 12:00 Alabama-Huntsville 7, Georgia Southwestern 1 2:00 Alabama-Huntsville 9, Clark-Atlanta 0 Maroon Field 12:00 West Alabama 14, Benedict 2 2:00 Georgia Southwestern 6, West Alabama 3

Braves split on first day in Valdosta

Carrollton, Ga. – February 25, 2005 – The West Georgia Braves played two games Friday in the GSC/SSC Crossover, losing to Tampa in the opener 4-3 and beating Rollins 5-1 in the nightcap.

Kristen Howard took the loss in game one despite a home run from Jessica Sanders. The homer was the freshman’s sixth of the month.

In game two, Ryan Cochran, Sanders and Jamie Van Haltern were all 2-for-4 in the contest. Tara Gober picked up the win and Howard came on in the seventh for the save.

Braves pick up two wins over in-state rival

Carrollton, Ga. – March 2, 2005 – Welcome back to Oil Park, West Georgia! The Braves, in their first game back at Oil Park in five years got a perfect game in a 2-1 win over Georgia College and State University in game 1, followed by an 8-7 win in game two Wednesday.

The Braves and Lady Bobcats played to a draw in regulation in the first game, going into extra innings. Freshman starter Tara Gober was perfect through the first seven innings. In the eighth, with the runner placed on second, GCSU stole third and then moved the runner in on a sacrifice bunt.

The Braves scored two runs in the bottom of the eighth for the 2-1 victory. It was Gober’s third win of the season in four tries.

In game two, the offense exploded in an 8-7 victory for West Georgia. Gober came in for the seventh and eighth innings to collect her second win of the day.

The Braves move to 9-5 on the year with Clark-Atlanta coming to town tomorrow for a 2 p.m. start at Oil Park.

Women’s Athletic Spotlight – Ryan Cochran

Carrollton, Ga. – March 11, 2005 – With grades, practices, preseason, regular season, post season, the off season, and any time to just relax. A student athlete is called upon to deal with more in a given year than any other student at a school.

Ryan CochranJason Ledbetter last summer brought on a tremendous amount of joy and stress.

“I can’t wait for the wedding,” Cochran shared. “Playing and trying to plan a wedding is tough, but Jason is very understanding.”

Cochran also has a lot to be happy about on the field this season. Cochran is first, second, or third in every offensive category for the Braves this season. In the past two series against Delta State and LaGrange, Cochran hit two home runs and knocked in five runs, including a mammoth three-run shot to end the second LaGrange game.

“I just worked really hard this off season and preseason,” Cochran said. “it is my senior year and I want it to be memorable.”

As Cochran has started off her best season has a Brave, there is one person that has been with her from the beginning and that is her mother. Cochran’s mother passed away last summer from cancer. Cochran’s mom was a common site at Braves games, screaming and cheering her daughter and teammates on.

“I miss her greatly,” Cochran shared. “But I know she is watching me and is with me when I play.”

One of the biggest helps has been the amazing support Cochran has received from her teammates, coaches, and family.

“Coach (Erika) Swanson and the girls have been great,” Cochran said. “they have made it a lot easier for me to adjust. It will be hard on senior night without my mom, but I know she will be watching and that she is proud of me.”

Cochran is one of three seniors of a young team that has a tough schedule ahead of them.

“Amy, Marianne and myself, are here to help the younger girls where they need us,” Cochran explained. “They are very talented already.”

The Braves were picked to finish 6th in the Gulf South Conference East Division in the preseason coaches’ poll. It’s a place that Cochran has grown accustomed to being in, but she and her teammates are determined to change

West Georgia snake-bitten in Sunday doubleheader

Carrollton Ga. – March 6, 2005 – The West Georgia Braves played the second of four top-five calibur teams on the schedule this season Sunday, falling in the first 9-3 and 10-0 in the second.

It was a day that just didn’t have it in the cards for West Georgia, as the Florida Southern Moccasins knocked around all three UWG pitchers all afternoon. On the other side, the Braves were baffled at the plate by FSC All-America pitcher Megan Brown.

Jessie Wise fared well at the plate in game one, going 3-for-3 with a trio of singles. The 2004 UWG home run champ had been in a slump for the majority of the season thus far.

West Georgia’s game two starter Tara Gober matched Brown for the first three innings, but Florida Southern struck in the top of the fourth with 10 runs on eight hits in the inning.

Braves turn into Jekyll and Hyde against DSU

Carrollton, Ga. – March 8, 2005 – The West Georgia Braves couldn’t have looked better in a 10-2 win in the first game of the day Tuesday against Delta State. But in game two, Jekyll came out and as the Braves fell 10-9 on a seventh inning grand slam from the Lady Statesmen.

The Braves opened up hot as a pistol in game one, with starter Tara Gober tearing things up on the mound and the bats blasting DSU starter Sam St. Hilaire. West Georgia led 6-1 after the first three innings. In the those stanzas, the runs were generated by good hitting.

But in the next three innings, the Braves busted out the whooping stick, collecting a home run apiece from Ryan Cochran and Adrienne Clay. Jessie Wise’s sixth inning double with no outs gave West Georgia a 10-2 lead, exceeding the run rule and ending the game.

With the great start in game one, things looked great for game two until the Braves committed three errors in the first three batters of the top of the first inning. UWG went on to have four errors leading to three runs in the inning.

But the bats came right back as Mary Carlisle led off with a triple to get the Braves going. Before DSU could get an out, West Georgia already had two runs. When the dust cleared in the bottom of the first, the score was 4-3 in favor of the Braves.

Things continued to cruise along as the Braves built a 9-6 lead in the first three innings. But in the seventh, with the bases loaded, Alyse Hasty’s pinch hit grand slam gave Delta a 10-9 win.

Gober gave up the winning homer for her third loss of the season. The Braves move to 10-8 on the year with LaGrange coming to town Wednesday for a doubleheader.

UWG powers past LaGrange in mid-week battle

Carrollton, Ga. – March 8, 2005 – It took some hard work, but the West Georgia Braves used power, speed and all-around good hitting to slip by LaGrange in the first game of a doubleheader today at Oil Park, then blasted the Panthers 8-0 in the nightcap.

West Georgia hit the ground running in the first inning of Wednesday’s contest, with Mary Carlisle kicking things off with a single and a subsequent stolen base. Freshman phenom Jessica Sanders followed that with a two-run homer to left field for an early 2-0 lead.

Starting pitcher Tara Gober cruised through the first four innings, allowing just two hits in that span. But the Panthers came our roaring in the fifth, touching Gober for three runs in the inning to take a 3-2 lead.

Ryan Cochran’s sacrifice fly in the bottom half of the inning tied the game at three, leading to the seventh inning.

In the seventh, LaGrange took advantage of a West Georgia error and some timely hitting, collecting two runs in the inning.

But in the bottom of the inning, four straight Braves reached base with one out, setting up the final play of the contest. With the bases loaded and the score tied, Jamie Van Haltern singled to right field, driving in the game-winning run.

Carlisle, Cochran, Sanders and Van Haltern all had two hits in the game, led by Sanders. The freshman was 2-for-4 wih two runs scored and three RBI.

In game two, West Georgia jumped on the LaGrange pitchers early and often in an 8-0 victory. Sanders continued to pound the ball, smashing her eighth home run of the season. Carlisle joined the hit parade with her fourth triple of the year.

But it was Ryan Cochran who would be the hero in this game. The senior was 3-for-4 with a home run and two singles, including the game-ending blast in the bottom of the sixth that put West Georgi up 8-0.

Next up for West Georgia is the first conference game of the year, a three-game series with West Florida in Pensacola beginning Friday night.

Rough outing in conference opener

Pensacola, Fla. – March 12, 2005 – Playing the second-ranked team in the nation, a team needs play almost perfect softball. The West Georgia Braves found that out Saturday night in losing their conference opener 7-0 to the No. 2 West Florida Lady Argonauts.

The Braves managed just three hits in the contest, all in the final two innings. In addition, the Lady Argos were able to take advantage of four UWG errors in the game.

Starting pitcher Susan Church threw four innings, allowing seven hits and four runs. Only three of the runs were earned. Kristin Howard came on in relief, allowing three runs on four hits in the final two innings.

Katie Reddick, Jamie Van Haltern and Whitney Monk were the only Braves to collect hits on the evening.

West Georgia falls to 12-9 on the season with a doubleheader scheduled for tomorrow with West Florida.

Weekend concludes with pair of losses

Carrollton, Ga. – March 13, 2005 – It’s not an easy task to start out the conference season with one of strongest teams in the nation. The West Georgia Braves fell twice Sunday to the West Florida, ranked second nationally. The Braves lost 8-1 in the first game, then 4-0 in the series finale.

West Georgia touched the Lady Argonauts in the first game for five hits, including a 2-for-3 effort from freshman Jessica Sanders. The local product had struggled somewhat at the plate lately, collecting just five hits in her last seven games before Sunday’s contests.

But freshman pitcher Tara Gober had a rough outing, giving up eight runs on nine hits in six innings of work. She walked four and only six of the runs were earned, but Gober collects just her fourth loss of the season.

UWF sent ace Amber Browning back to the hill in game two, and she again baffled the UWG bats, throwing a three-hit shutout to close out the series. Mary Carlisle, silent for most of the series at the plate, picked up her team-leading 36th hit of the season in the finale. She is just 17 away from her total from the 2004 season.

The Braves are now 12-11 on the season and 0-3 in the Gulf South Conference.

Braves sweep Albany; Sanders sets school mark

Carrollton, Ga. – March 23, 2005 – The Braves ran into a spunky group of Albany State Lady Rams Wednesday at Oil Park, winning both ends of a doubleheader on some late-inning heroics. The Braves took game one 5-4 in regulation and game two 7-6 in eight innings.

In game one, West Georgia took a 3-0 lead in the first five innings. Jessica Sanders’ first home run came in the fifth, giving the Braves a commanding lead.

Heading to the top of the sixth, West Georgia starting pitcher Tara Gober had given up just two hits on the day. Three batters into the inning, she had given up five hits and the game was tied at 3-3 on a Verniece Graham home run.

But in the bottom of the inning, Amy King led off with a single, followed by a single from Adrienne Clay. But Clay’s hard-hit ball skipped under right fielder Seychel Kinney’s glove, putting Clay at third with no outs. Mary Carlisle grounded out to second, scoring Clay on what would be the game-winning run.

Gober allowed a run in the top of the sixth, but a groundout to second ended the game at 5-4.

In the nightcap, it was the Braves’ turn to have to play catch-up. The Lady Rams came out hot, scoring three runs on four hits in the top of the first and then added another run in the second inning.

In a four-run hole in the second, Jamie Van Haltern singled to lead off the inning. Kristen Howard followed up with a double to the gap in right-center in her first at-bat of the season. Six batters and four runs later, the inning ended with the game tied at four.

Howard and ASU starter Tina Doyle held both teams scoreless over the next two innings before the Lady Rams broke through with a run in the top of the fifth. Albany added yet another run in the top of the seventh, setting up the late-inning drama.

Sanders led off the bottom of the seventh with her 10th home run of the season, breaking Jennifer Cagle’s single-season record of nine. Two batters later, with two outs, Howard strode to the plate. She got in the hole with an 0-2 count, then worked the count back even at 2-2. The next pitch didn’t touch the ground until it had cleared the fence in center field, tying the contest at six and giving the Braves new life.

In extra innings, the Braves took advantage of a baserunning blunder on a ground ball back to Howard. The runner placed on second Shari Goldenran to third ahead of the throw from UWG first baseman Jamie Van Haltern. But Golden’s slide took her past the base, and Mary Carlisle tagged her out, dodging a huge bullet.

West Georgia stopped the Lady Rams in the eighth, then placed Whitney Monk on second in place of Mariann Davis. Two batters later, it was Carlisle’s turn to be the hero. She worked the count 3-2 before singling up the middle for the game-winner.

Sanders was the hero of the day at the plate, going 4-for-7 with two homers, three RBI and two runs scored. Ryan Cochran boosted her batting average, also going 4-for-7 with a pair of RBI. Howard, in her first game batting at West Georgia, was 3-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored.

The Braves move to 14-11 on the season with West Alabama coming to town on Friday for the Gulf South Conference home opener.

UWG takes two in conference home opener

Carrollton, Ga. – March 25, 2005 –Jessie Wisehomered in Game one and Tara Gober pitched seven innings, allowing just one hit in leading the West Georgia Braves to a two-game sweep over the West Alabama Tigers, 9-1 and 7-2.

Gober allowed one hit and walked one in the opener, both coming in the second inning. She walked Sydney Sneed and allowed an RBI double to Heather Shugart in the second inning for the only runs in the first game for UWA.

But in the bottom of the second, with the game tied 1-1, the Braves broke the game open. Mariann Davis led off with a single, followed by a mammoth home run from Jessie Wise. Wise led the Braves in homers in 2004, but today’s was her first of the 2005 season.

West Georgia scored two more runs in the bottom of the second, taking advantage of the second of UWA’s three errors on the afternoon.

The Braves and Tigers were scoreless for the next two runs before the Braves broke through for four runs in the bottom of the fifth to exceed the softball eight-run rule.

In the second contest, West Georgia head coach Erika Swanson used a pitcher by committee iin the game. Kristen Howard was the starting pitcher, followed by Susan Church for a pair of innings and Tara Gober finished off the contest. The three pitchers held the strong UWA hitters to just two runs on on six hits. Church struck out two in two innings, walking none. Gober walked a batter, but struck out four and Howard had a walk and a strikeout in her three innings.

The Braves collected yet another strong day from Howard at the plate. The junior was 2-for-2 with an RBI and a pair of runs scored on the evening. Jamie Van Haltern and Katie Reddick were both 2-of-4, with Van Haltern collecting an RBI and a run and Reddick scoring a run.

The Braves came out of the gate running, jumping on the Tigers for a four-spot in the bottom of the first inning. With two-out, Jessica Sanders, Reddick and Van Haltern had back-to-back-to-back singles, followed by a Howard double. Amy King finished up the scoring in the inning with a double, scoring two to give the Braves a commanding 4-0 lead.

UWG is now 16-11 on the season and moves to 2-3 in the GSC East division. West Alabama falls to 10-14 and 0-5 in conference play.

Braves sweep Easter weekend series

Carrollton, Ga. – March 26, 2005 – The West Georgia Braves rechristened Oil Park as a Gulf South Conference softball facility this weekend with a three-game sweep of West Alabama. The Braves finished the sweep Saturday with a 4-0 victory.

The story of the 2005 West Georgia softball season has been the hitting. After hitting .209 as a team last season, the Braves entered the weekend hitting .313 as a team.

The Braves remained hot at the plate against West Alabama, but it was the pitching that really steppped up, led by freshman Tara Gober. The Stockbridge native went the distance Saturday, scattering six hits in seven innings while throwing her second shutout of the year. On the weekend, She allowed just one run on eight hits while striking out 17 and walking two.

At the plate Saturday, the third inning proved to be the heavy blow. Adrienne Clay led off the inning with a single and stole second almost immediately. After a wild pitch brought Clay to third, Mary Carlisle’s sacrifice fly gave the Braves a 1-0 lead. Three straight singles from Ryan Cochran, Jessica Sanders and Katie Reddick brought home Cochran as the second run of the inning.

Jamie Van Haltern blasted one to the gap in right center and the ball hopped over the fence for a ground-rule double. Sanders scored, but Reddick was forced to stop at third. A pair of ground-outs finished out the inning, but the Braves were leading 3-0.

Sanders continued her hot hitting in the fifth with her 11th home run of the season to close out the scoring in the game. The freshman was 2-for-3 on the afternoon with a pair of runs scored and an RBI. Reddick extended her hitting streak to nine games, a season high for the team this year. Her eight-game streak earlier this season was the previous high.

Weekend trends: The Braves raised the team batting average six points from .313 to .319 . . . so far in 2005, West Georgia has been relying on extra-base hits. Of the 29 hits the Braves pounded out on the weekend, 24 were singles . . . Gober’s 13 shutout innings lowered her ERA to a team-low 3.43, down over a half-run from 4.05 heading into the weekend . . . The RBI battle is heating up. Sanders leads the team with 27, followed by 25 from both Carlisle and Cochran.

The Braves are now 17-11 on the season and have evened up the GSC East record at 3-3. West Alabama falls to 10-15 and 0-6 in conference play.

West Georgia pair earns conference honors

Carrollton, Ga. – March 29, 2005 – A stellar week from two West Georgia freshman garnered a nod from the Gulf South Conference office Tuesday. Jessica Sanders, right, was named Player of the Week and Tara Gober was named Pitcher of the Week by conference officals.

The award is the first for both Braves in their young careers at West Georgia. For Gober, the recognition is quite historic, since no Brave pitcher has been named Pitcher of the Week since April 11, 2000, when Allison White earned the distinction.

Gober was overpowering in the week, going 3-0 and making an appearance in every game in the Braves’ sweep of both Albany State and West Alabama. Against the Tigers, Gober was especially effective, going 2-0 in 14 innings of work. She allowed just eight hits in three appearances against UWA with a miniscule 0.50 ERA on the weekend. She also struck out 27 batters while walking just four on the week.

For Sanders, last week was a banner week, as the freshman started things off by tying and then later breaking the West Georgia single-season home run record against Albany State. The previous record was nine, set by Jennifer Cagle in the 2003 campaign.

But the freshman didn’t stop there, continuing to reset the mark by hitting yet another home run in the weekend series against West Alabama to bring her season total to 11. She hit .533 on the week, collecting eight hits in 15 at-bats with a slugging percentage of 1.200.

It was just the second Player of the Week award for a West Georgia softball player since 1998. Mary Carlisle won the award late in the season last year en route to an All-GSC selection.

Sanders, Gober and the rest of the Braves travel to Harrogte, TN to face the Lincoln Memorial Lady Railsplitters on Saturday at 1:00 p.m. for a crucial GSC series.

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