High School Softball
Northgate's Peace, Newnan's Stewart head 2013 All-County list
by Doug Gorman
The 2013 high school softball season in Coweta County could be described by one word that definited the type of team and player this area produced on the field this past fall.
'Elite.' Coweta's three GHSA lineups all won at least 25 games and posted a combined .725 win-percentage while sending two teams to respective Elite 8 tournaments, one of which came a whisker of winning the whole thing.
It was also a year when the 2013 Newnan Times Herald All-County Softball team was split pretty much down the middle, with each team placing at least five members on this year's all-county squad.
At the end, Northgate was the last team standing on the final day of the 2013 season, falling one win short of a Class AAAAA championship and coming home with a runner-up trophy to Region 4-AAAAA foe Ola for the second time in tournament play this fall.
The Lady Vikings finished the season with a 28-9-1 record, netting six All-County selections led by Pitcher of the Year McKenzie Peace.
Newnan and East Coweta, meanwhile, dominated play in Region 3-AAAAAA, each posting at least 25 wins.
The Lady Cougars set a program- best mark of 25-10 and returned to the Class AAAAAA Elite 8 for the first time since 2010 in a year that included an influx of young players in the program.
Veterans like senior third-baseman Lindsay Stewart - this year's Times-Herald Most Valuable Player -were crutial, however, in keeping the team headed in the right direction.
East Coweta, meanwhile, came through with a Region 3-AAAAAA championship while finishing with a 26-10 record and two wins shy of reaching the Elite 8.
The Lady Indians had an eighty-year streak of reaching the state tournament in Columbus snapped by a Harrison team that eventually reached the Class AAAAAA championship game.
Pitching was a dominant force in all three programs, but maybe none more impressive than Peace's senior year at Northgate.
The La Salle University signee was a steady force on the mound all year for the Lady Vikings.
'She did a great job for us all year,' said head coach Lisa Skelton. 'She threw a lot of innings for us, and we rode her back and nearly won a state title.'
The Northgate senior finished her final high school softball a 1.91 ERA, 202 strikeouts, and a 20-9 record.
Stewart was also called on to lead the Lady Cougars, starting witha position switch from second to third base after Newnan lost former All-County standout Sydney Garmany to graduation.
Stewart helped lead Newnan to the Elite 8 after batting .406 with 31 RBIs and 43 hits.
'She was a great leader, loved her teammates and wanted to be successful' Newnan head coach Carrie Gilmore said.
Northgate made its run to the champion with some solid offense.
Third baseman Jenna Pealor earned her spot on the All-County team after batting 435, displaying plenty of power with six home runs and 34 RBIs.
She terrorized opposing pitchers in the GHSA Elite 8 tournament, going 9 of 11 with three homers over her team's first four games.
Second baseman Carly Alderman also helped the team finish as the state's runner up with a .352 average and a 11 RBIs with five stolen bases.
All three outfielders from Norrthgate also made the All-County squad with Brenna Skalski, Ebonee Echols and Emily Heath sharing the honor.
Skalski put together a county-best .515 average among starters from her leadoff spot. She also had 17 RBIs and 14 stolen bases.
Echols finished the game with a. 438 average, 34 hits, 19 RBIs and 14 stolen bases.
Heath earned a spot on the team with a .432 batting average, 30 hits and 25 RBIs.
Four other players joined Stewart on the All-County squad from Newnan.
Senior Chaycie Goggins ended her high school career with a solid performance with her bat and glove. The shortstop missed two weeks late in the season, but hit .351 with 22 RBIs and six homer run. Her homer against Colquitt County in the second-round of the Class AAAAAA state tournament sent the Lady Cougars to the Elite 8.
'We really missed her when she was out,' she Gilmore. 'She was such a valuable part of our team.'
Newnan catcher Arden Jobe also made the squad after hitting .384 with four homers and 21 RBIs.
Newnan pitcher Tori Loveless was 21-8 with an ERA of 1.69 and 75 strikeouts. Sophomore Maysen Williard came up big for the Lady Cougars, batting .381 with 19 hits and 8 RBIs.
East Coweta Kia Smith was one of five players off this year's Lady Indians' squad to earn all-county honors.
Smith hit .477 with 41 runs score, 16 RBIs and 31 stolen bases.
'I know I have said this before, but I don't think there is a better second baseman anywhere in the state,' East Coweta head coach Franklin Deloach said. 'She gets to ball you would think there is no way she will be able field.'
Smith is joined by junior outfielder Katey Lynch, senior catcher Reba Jones, junior infielder Lauren Liebe and senior shortstop Shemiah Sanchez.
Lynch came through in the clutch all year, batting .467 with 39 RBIs, 13 doubles and five homers.
Deloach called Jones a superb defensive catcher with the ability to throw out opponents trying to steal. Sbe also finished with .298 batting average and 21 RBIs.
Liebe played first, third, short and second at times this year. The junior hit .340 with 24 RBIs and six doubles.
Sanchez, who is a junior but already committed to LSU, hit .350 with 27 RBIs, 27 doubles and seven stolen bases.
This year's list of players earning honorable mention status were also standouts at points during the season. They included senior catcher Brittany Futral, senior shortstop Casey Kent, sophomore outfielder Jessica Houk and junior utility player Mackenzie McCloud of Northgate; junior Hailey Baswell and sophomores Morgan Goree, Mekhia Freeman and Maggie Morrow of East Coweta and Newnan freshman shortstop Hannah Scarbrough.