COLUMBUS, Ga. — Hailey Gass was the Cinderella story within a Cinderella story Saturday as the Georgia Class AA softball final came down to the last inning.
With Dade County ahead of dangerous Wesleyan 4-2, the outfielder hit a grand slam in the top of the seventh. Her first career home run capped a shocking ride for the Lady Wolverines, as they won 8-3 to go from unranked to champion in one weekend.
Wesleyan forced a deciding title game with an 8-7 win on two runs with two out in the seventh inning. Overcoming that heartbreaking loss was difficult for Dade co-coaches Autumn Sigler and Christine Core, but a two-run second inning in the rematch, highlighted by Carri Pierce's RBI hit, put the Lady Wolverines ahead to stay.
"Once we started hitting, the heads came up and we started rolling," Sigler said.
Added Core: "We told them throughout the tournament that this is all about momentum. We saw it here last night, and we saw it here as players. We had to come back out and take the momentum back from Wesleyan, and once we did that we were all right."
Madison Lacy, who had belted a three-run homer in the earlier loss, hit a two-run shot in the fourth inning as Dade built a 4-1 lead, but Wesleyan scored a run in the fifth. Gass, though, provided ace pitcher Madison Gossett more than enough insurance with her seventh-inning slam.
"We had better attitudes in the second game and we were more confident in ourselves," Lacy said. "We came out here expecting to win, and we realized this is the last time we could play together. I feel really happy for our seniors because no one thought we could win this. We peaked at the perfect time, I guess."
Lindsey Young is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who started work at the Chattanooga News-Free Press 24 years ago. He covers the Northwest Georgia prep beat and NASCAR. Lindsey’s hometown is Ringgold, Ga., and he graduated from Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School. He received an associate’s degree from Dalton Junior College (now Dalton State) and a bachelor’s degree in communications from UTC. He has won several writing awards, including two Tennessee Sports ...