HAMPTON — Hampton High faced off against Spalding High in a double header to open the Class AAAA of the Georgia High School Association State Tournament Tuesday winning the opening game of the series 9-0 and the second 14-1.

The Lady Hornets came into this series as the back-to-back region champions while the Spalding Lady Jaguars entered as the No. 4 seeded program out of their region.

The Lady Hornets didn’t seem like they were in the mood to entertain even the thought of an upset. Ace pitcher Skylar Trahan was dominant in her start, pitching five shutout innings. The South Carolina commit flashed her dominance with eleven strikeouts and only giving up four hits while the defense behind her managed to keep the shutout intact.

“We came out strong hitting, and we were solid on defense, and I think we are ready for next week’s game,” Trahan said. “We had just come off a big region championship win against Eastside and that just gave us the confidence we have.”

Hampton’s offense also came to play. They gave Trahan nine runs of insurance. It was a collective team effort at the plate by the Lady Hornets, where everyone got in on the action. Their game was well rounded and they won, not only because of what they did at the plate and in the circle, but the Lady Hornets were smart on the bases. Hampton scored three runs on wild pitches, and continually got runners in scoring position with steals. The confidence that Trahan mentioned was clear and obviously showed in their performance.

“We have been working on a lot of things that we have seen as negatives throughout our season,” head coach Chris Huffman said about preparation for this series. “ Our starts, making sure we are more aggressive with two strikes, and staying aggressive on the bases, that’s where our stress was over the last few days.”

Huffman’s preparation during practice was perfect because the team executed everything that he detailed extremely well. Hampton took a one game lead in the series winning 9-0 and is ready to put Jana Shellhorse on the mound for game two.

In game two, Hampton’s momentum continued on into game two and the 14-1 victory proved it.

It was again a full team effort that led to the dominating victory. Starting pitcher Jana Shellhorse had a great game, giving up only one run in a last minute rally by the Lady Jaguars. Shellhorse followed up fellow teammate Skylar Trahan’s performance with a beauty of her own.

Harley Thomas finished out the fourth inning in relief for Shellhorse. Thomas didn’t give up any runs in her short appearance, which helped the Lady Jaguars advance to the next round of the playoffs.

Shellhorse’s pitching wasn’t the only bright spot of the game. The offense also came to play, starting hot and stayed hot throughout the game. The whole line up had their way with opposing pitching. Centerfielder Tyler Ellison stood out at the plate with two doubles and driving in four runs.

“I feel pretty good about it, especially because the first game, I hit a lot of balls on the ground, I didn’t hit more line drives,” Ellison said. “This game I was focused on making sure I hit more of the middle of the ball than the top and I tried to wait on the ball more.”

Ellison was very detailed in her approach to the game, more in the second after she calculated the adjustments she should make. She shares the same confidence as the rest of her team, but she says the fine line between confidence and cockiness helps her improve game by game and put up the type of numbers that she did to play a big role in her team’s win.

“Our girls came out and did what they are supposed to,” said Huffman. “Overall our two pitchers with Skylar Strahan and Jana Shellhorse came in and threw strikes, getting ahead of hitters and we swung the bat well as a team.”

It’s obvious that the Lady Hornets are ready to go deep in the playoffs. Their pitching gave up one run, in nine innings of play and their defense behind the pitching was spectacular.

The team has depth, as if facing their starters wasn’t difficult enough for opposing teams. Both Cheyenne Godfrey and Jada Howard came in the game in the third inning and both drove in two runs off doubles.

Hampton moves on to the next round of the playoffs where they wait to see who their next opponent will be.

Sports Editor

Graduated from South Carolina State University in 2015. Been with the Henry Herald and Clayton News in two capacities as a sports journalist and interim sports editor.

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