10 UNG softballers named All-American Scholar Athletes

Sports, Team FYN Sports, University of North Georgia

DAHLONEGA – The University of North Georgia softball team had 10 players named 2018-19 Easton/NFCA All-America Scholar-Athletes, as announced by the national office Friday.

Kristen Adkins, Bria Bush, Laken Chambers, Katie Collins, Abbie Crawford, Jordan Deep, Kelly Kahlert, Marley Stowers. Brooke Wakenigg and Harlee Williams were the Nighthawks that earned the recognition.

65 players from across the Peach Belt Conference earned the award with Young Harris having 15 on the list. Georgia College had 12, while Augusta, UNG and Francis Marion each had 10.

The 10 Nighthawks named to the team joined a total of 1,306 Division II softball players across the nation to be honored with the award. Players had to have a 3.5 GPA or higher for the 2018-19 season to be eligible for the award.


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Lumpkin County runner-up region championship

Sports, Team FYN Sports
Lumpkin County

The Lumpkin County Lady Indians softball team finished as runner-up in the region 7 3A championship after falling short in a double header on Wednesday night.

The Lady Indians faced off against region opponent East Hall. The top-two teams in their region battled earlier in the season at Lumpkin County. The Vikings defeated the Lady Indians at home in the regular season game, and the latter was looking for the opposite to happen at East Hall.

It is a rivalry that many hoped would end with a comeback for the Lady Indians, but unfortunately ended with the Vikings on top 6-1 in the first game and 16-0 in the second.

Lumpkin County played solid defense in the first game

The Vikings jumped ahead with an early lead after their first at bat. Macy Banks, starting pitcher for East Hall, hit a single to right field. Her teammate Abigail Brown put the ball into play immediately after, giving the Vikings time to score and get on the board first.

During Viking Callie Dale’s turn at bat, the ball got past Lady Indians catcher Natalie Schubert and East Hall got their second run. Dale followed with a double, and the Vikings gained their third run. The Lady Indians defense kicked in, and a great play by second baseman Alyssa Pulley got the third out.

Lumpkin County

Natalie Robinson pitched six innings in the region championship against East Hall on Wednesday.

For several innings neither team scored as the others defense went to work. Natalie Robinson took the mound for the Lady Indians and pitched six innings.

The highlight of the Lady Indians offense came in the top of the fourth inning. Third baseman Lauren English stepped up to bat, and launched an out of the park home run to left field. As she rounded the bases, her teammates came onto the field to greet her at home plate.

Several other great offensive moments for the Lady Indians included two singles by Alyssa Pulley and a single by Natalie Schubert.

Despite Lumpkin County’s best efforts, the Vikings scored three more runs to extend their lead. A couple of walks and a single by Viking Grace Smith put two more runs on the board in the bottom of the fourth.

The Lady Indians held the Vikings from scoring more runs for a couple more innings by playing great defense. A great running catch by left fielder AK Wilson turned into a double play after she threw the ball to Alyssa Pulley at first.

The final run of the game for the Vikings came after a single by Gracie Ausborn to clinch the first win 6-1.

Lady Indians offense struggled in second game

The Vikings again jumped ahead with an early lead after back to back singles to start the second game. They

Lumpkin County

Lauren English hit a home run for the Lady Indians in the first game, then pitched in the second.

also scored eight runs over a lengthy eighth inning that secured them the lead.

Although they battled for hits during each at bat, the Lady Indians were unable to score.

English took the mound as the starting pitcher for Lumpkin County, and pitched a total of three innings. Emmie Graham came in at the top of the fourth and pitched one inning.

The final score was 16-0.

The Lady Indians are officially the second seed heading into playoffs for the state championship. They will host the third seed from region 5 3A on Wednesday, October 9th.


Lady Indians edge past Tigers 4-2

Sports, Team FYN Sports

Both the Lumpkin County Lady and Indians and Dawson County Tigers battled for hits in their region game on Tuesday night. But after a single to left field by Emmie Graham and ball put into play by Hannah Pulley, the Lady Indians were able to pull ahead and win by a final score of 4-2.

The Lady Indians struck first with a leadoff double by shortstop Evee Dornhecker. First baseman Natalie Robinson followed shortly after with a single, and then came catcher Natalie Schubert’s out-of-the-park homerun to left field. With her hit, Schubert brought in Robinson and propelled the Lady Indians to a 3-0 lead.

Third baseman Rylie Erickson hit a triple for the Dawson County Tigers, bringing in their first run of the game.

The Tigers started to make a comeback during their next at bat. Center fielder Kaselyn Martin hit a single to right field, then was brought home by a triple from third baseman Rylie Erickson. After Erickson was able to come in after a ball put into play by left fielder Brea Crane, the Lady Indians lead had been shortened to one run 3-2.

It was a battle of defense for the next few innings as both teams fought for runs and were denied them. An exceptionally good play for the Lady Indians came from teamwork by sisters Hannah Pulley and Alyssa Pulley. Designated player Kaylee Hamilton for the Tigers bunted, and Hannah Pulley scooped up the ball in time to get the out at first. Alyssa Pulley moved over from second to first to get the ball for the out.

The final score of the game came in the bottom of the sixth inning, when the ball put into play by Hannah Pulley brought in a needed run for the Lady Indians.

The Lady Indians may have won, but the Tigers played a great game both offensively and defensively.

Starting pitcher for the Lady Indians Lauren English pitched a great game over seven innings with seven strikeouts.

Starting pitcher for the Tigers Reese Moore pitched a solid six innings with one strikeout and allowing four runs.

Lauren English was the starting pitcher for the Lady Indians, who also pitched a great seven innings with seven strikeouts and allowing two runs.

The Tigers are scheduled to face White County this Thursday at home. The Lady Indians will travel to play East Hall on Thursday, as well.


Lady Indians continue region play against Fannin

Sports, Team FYN Sports

Lady Indians starting pitcher Natalie Robinson deserved the “Dub Club” sign she wore after an incredible game on Thursday that helped her team to defeat region opponent Fannin County on Thursday. Robinson pitched a solid four innings with two strikeouts and only allowing two runs. Other incredible offense for the Lady Indians included two singles with a RBI and a double for shortstop Evee Dornhecker, and a double with 2 RBIs for catcher Natalie Schubert.

The Lady Rebels were the first to score with one run in the top of the first. A couple of bunts got the bases loaded for the Lady Rebels, and then a single to center field by catcher Eryn Mealer brought in a runner.

The Lady Indians were quick to come back with a lead off single by Dornhecker. Third baseman Lauren English hit the ball straight to the Lady Rebels’ shortstop, but an error on the shortstop gave English time to be safe at first. Catcher Natalie Robinson sent the ball right to the shortstop again, this time for an out, but not before Dornhecker could score and tie the game. Right fielder Haley Voyles hit a single to right field to bring in English, and the Lady Indians left the inning with a 2-1 lead.

The next couple of innings were brief for both teams, giving a chance for the defense to shine. In the top of the second inning, Robinson pitched two back-to-back strikeouts.

The offense started to pick back up in the top of the fourth with another single by Mealer. Starting pitcher Kaelyn Hensley put down a sacrifice bunt to bring in Mealer, and the Lady Rebels tied the game at a score of 2-2.

Along with a great game at catcher, Natalie Schubert played some good offense for the Lady Indians with a double to bring in two RBIs.

The Lady Indians offense came to life in the bottom of the fourth, starting off with a double to center field by Dornhecker. The next couple of batters for the Lady Indians resulted in walks, and when Schubert launched a double to the center field wall she brought in an easy two runs to pull the Lady Indians ahead 4-2.

The Lady Indians were in great scoring position, and they took advantage of it. Voyles followed Schubert with a single to bring in a runner. Another runner scored after designated player Emmie Graham put the ball into play. First baseman for the Lady Indians Hannah Pulley followed with a single of her own to bring home one of her teammates and push the score to 7-2 Lady Indians.

The Lady Indians were once again in great scoring position after a couple more walks. Back at the top of the lineup Dornhecker hit a single to right field to earn a RBI. English followed with the same, and then Robinson launched an out-of-the-park bomb to center field for two more RBIs. When the Lady Indians left the inning they held a lead of 12-2.

Unfortunately the Lady Rebels couldn’t get anything going in the next half-inning, and the Lady Indians won on a run rule after four-and-a-half innings 12-2.

The Lady Rebels alternated their pitching game between three pitchers. Kaelyn Hensley was the starting pitcher.

Head coach for the Lady Indians Joe Jones was pleased with the team’s performance.

“[We] did a much better job adjusting quickly. Great ball game, they did a great job mixing up pitchers and keeping our timing off,” said Coach Jones.

The Lady Rebels alternated their pitching between three women including Hensley and Josilyn Newton. The Lady Rebels are scheduled to take on East Hall on Saturday.

The Lady Indians are on a region play break, as they are scheduled to face Union away next Wednesday. They will then take on Oconee County and Locust Grove.


Sports talk Thursday with Lauren Hunter-Shout-out to softball

All of TeamFYNSports, Sports

I’ll be the first to tell you that growing up I was never athletic. People always seem to find that hard to believe since I’m a sports reporter. But there was a time that I was really interested in trying softball.

When I was little (aka the age I should’ve started playing a sport if I wanted to be any good at it) I never really knew about or watched softball. When I got into middle school, I had a friend who played and showed me an incredible video of a softball player shattering a piece of glass from her fast-pitch. It was obvious that she was extremely strong and worked very hard to be one of the best in her sport.

I was inspired to say the least, and I almost signed up to join a church league with another friend of mine. But sadly at that point it was too late for me, and I think it was for the better anyway. Combine my age and lack of experience with my lack of athleticism and I probably would’ve been a guaranteed bench warmer.

Anyway, the point of this week’s edition of Sports talk Thursday is not to mope about my sad past with athletics, but to praise these hardworking ladies for what they do. And covering the Lumpkin County Lady Indians softball team as well as some of the other local high school teams has truly opened my eyes to what an incredible sport softball is. And while most of my experience is with Lumpkin County because I cover them on a regular basis, these are observations that I’ve made about high school teams across the board.

One of the things I love about softball is how encouraging the players are to one another!

The first thing I love about softball is how encouraging the players are for their teammates. Unlike softball or basketball that are typically played in louder conditions, the atmosphere for softball is fairly quiet. So it’s easy for the players to make themselves heard when they’re cheering each other on, and I assume it’s also necessary in some instances to keep them going! There’s never a quiet moment at a Lumpkin County softball game, because whether it’s for the batter when they’re at the plate or the pitcher when they’re on the mound, the Lady Indians are always chanting words of encouragement. And when I’ve traveled to cover the team at other high schools, the other team is the same way. And not only do the teams encourage their own teammates, they’ll also give a shout out to players of the opposing team if they make a good play.

The athleticism of the players is another thing that blows me away about softball. I’ve seen basemen go into full- on splits to make a catch for an out, numerous running catches and a couple diving/rolling catches. On offense there have been several out-of-the-park home runs (a couple lead-offs!) and other perfectly timed triples, doubles and singles to bring the team ahead. This isn’t to say that I would expect anything less from a group of hardworking women, but it amazes me nonetheless. Possibly because there’s no way in this world I could do that stuff myself!

This is an example of a picture that I happened to get perfectly time. This shot of Hayley Voyles for Lumpkin County ended up being an out-of-the-park home run, and her family was so excited when I shared it with them!

As a sports reporter it’s always exciting to catch that perfect moment on camera when the ball connects with the bat for a home run. Then to be able to share that moment with the player or their family makes the job so rewarding. I know as a reporter I’m not *technically* supposed to show favoritism at a game, but there have been several times I’ve had to sit on my hands to keep from cheering when there was a great hit or awesome play on defense.

Long story short- these young women work hard, you should come watch them, and I’ve enjoyed covering them.


Lady Indians fall to Vikings 13-8

Sports, Team FYN Sports

In one of the most high-energy games this season, the Lumpkin County Lady Indians took on the East Hall Vikings on Tuesday in their second region game of the season. In a sudden turn of events the Vikings pulled ahead to defeat the Lady Indians 13-8.

The Vikings got things started with an out-of-the-park homerun by starting pitcher Macy Banks in the top of the first inning. Banks’s hit was followed by a couple of singles, but the Lady Indians defense got the third out before any more runs could score.

Shortstop Evee Dornhecker hit an incredible out-of-the-park homerun to left field to lead things off for the Lady Indians. Starting pitcher Lauren English followed with a single, and a double by catcher Natalie Schubert lifted the Lady Indians to a 2-1 lead over the Vikings. Designated player Emmie Graham hit the ball to the infield and an error on the Vikings shortstop gave Graham time to reach first. Third baseman Hannah Pulley hit the ball back to the pitcher for the third out, but not before Graham came home to push the Lady Indians lead to 3-1.

The Lady Indians softball team celebrates Evee Dornhecker’s leadoff homerun in the bottom of the first inning.

A string of singles from Dornhecker, English and first baseman Natalie Robinson extended the Lady Indians lead to 5-1 during their next time to bat. The Vikings responded with another out-of-the-park homerun by Abigail Brown in the top of the third to make the score 5-3.

In the bottom of the third inning another string of singles from the Lady Indians helped to gain another four runs. After a couple of strong defensive innings for both teams the Vikings started to come back in the top of the fifth with a double to the center field wall by Banks. A passed ball for the Lady Indians brought in a run for the Vikings, as did a single. A couple of walked runners increased the Vikings score, and they took the lead after a double to the center field wall by right fielder Callie Dale.

Robinson came in to start pitching for the Lady Indians in the top of the sixth. With a fresh arm on the mound the Lady Indians were able to get quick three outs.

Robinson hit a double in the bottom of the sixth, and was brought home by a double from Schubert. The Lady Indians were looking for a comeback in the seventh, but a rainstorm swept through and made it difficult for them. The Vikings ended up putting another four runs on the board in the top of the seventh making the final score 13-8.

The Lady Indians still walked away with fourteen hits over the course of the game. Starting pitcher Lauren English pitched five innings and Natalie Robinson pitched 1 1/3 inning. Emmie Graham came in at the very end to finish up 2/3 of an inning.

The Lady Indians are now 5-5 on the season and 1-1 in the region. They will travel to Norcross on Thursday to face Greater Atlanta Christian.


Lady Indians start region play with victory over Tigers 15-3

Sports, Team FYN Sports

The Lumpkin County Lady Indians softball team started off their region play strong on Monday night with a 15-3 victory over the Dawson County Tigers. The game was delayed at first because of stormy weather, but after the skies cleared both teams came out ready to play.

The Lady Indians started out slow, leaving three stranded their first at-bat. Starting pitcher Natalie Robinson and the rest of the Lady Indians defense were able to hold the Tigers until the bottom of the second. A sacrifice bunt by Tigers left fielder Brea Crane brought in the first run of the game, followed by a ball put into play by Tigers catcher Annsley Kirby to bring home another runner.

The Tigers left the inning with a 2-0 lead, but it didn’t take long for the Lady Indians to warm up. The Lady Indians put ten runs on the board during the top of the third.

Starting catcher Natalie Schubert helped to get things started for the Lady Indians with a double in the third.

Third baseman Lauren English led things off with a single to right field, followed immediately after with a double to center field by Robinson. Starting catcher Natalie Schubert stepped up and hit a double to right field, earning her two RBIs and the Lady Indians two runs to tie the game 2-2.

Designated pitcher Emmie Graham followed Schubert with a single, and right fielder Hayley Voyles did the same to bring Schubert home and the Lady Indians another run. Back to back singles by first baseman Hannah Pulley and second baseman Alyssa Pulley brought in two more runs, and the Lady Indians had a lead of 5-2.

Back at the top of the lineup, shortstop Evee Dornhecker hit a single to left field for a RBI, and was followed by English with another single and RBI of her own. Graham hit another single to left field; an error on Tigers first baseman Bella Henson gave the Lady Indians time to score two more runs. After another single by Voyles to bring home Graham, the Lady Indians held a lead of 10-2 to finish off the top of the third.

The Tigers were unable to get anything on the board during their next at-bat, and a ball put into play by Robinson gave the Lady Indians time to score another run in the top of the fourth.

The Tigers tried to come back in the bottom of the fourth. Henson launched a double to the center field wall, and a couple of batters later designated pitcher Rylie Erickson hit a double to left field to bring Henson home. Unfortunately the Tigers were unable to get anything else going before the Lady Indians got the final out to end the inning with a score of 11-3.

First baseman for the Tigers Bella Henson hit a double in the game on Monday night.

Reece Moore took over as the pitcher for the Tigers in the top of the fifth. Kloee Graham sent a single down the first base line to get things started for the Lady Indians. Two batters later Voyles sent an incredible out-of-the-park homerun to left field to extend the Lady Indians’ lead 13-3. A single by Grace Jones and a couple of walks for the Lady Indians gave them a couple more runs to leave the inning 15-3.

Emmie Graham came in to finish pitching for the Lady Indians in the bottom of the fifth, and after a quick three outs the Lady Indians won on a run rule 15-3.

Among the great offense for the Lady Indians were a double with two RBIs for Schubert, two singles with a RBI for English plus a double and a single with a RBI for Hannah Pulley. Add in the homerun by Voyles in the fifth and the Lady Indians earned an incredible 18 hits. Robinson got six strikeouts over four innings as the starting pitcher.

The Tigers offense included a double by Henson and another double by Erickson. The Tigers earned three hits over the course of the game. Starting pitcher Olivia Martinez pitched four innings, and Erickson pitched the remaining one.

Coach Joe Jones for the Lady Indians said, “Overall, pretty good outting. [I’m] Proud of them for coming out and getting that first region win.”

The Lady Indians will continue their region play with a game against East Hall tonight at home. The Tigers will host Greater Atlanta Christian at home tonight as well.


Lady Indians cap off non-region play with 11-0 win

Sports, Team FYN Sports

The Lumpkin County Lady Indians softball team finished off their non-region play on a positive note. They won their third game of the week against the Chestatee Lady War Eagles at home on Thursday.

The Lady War Eagles showed up ready to fight for a come back from their 17-0 loss against the Lady Indians on Tuesday. Shortstop K.T. Palmieri hit a leadoff single for the Lady War Eagles in the top of the first. Unfortunately the next couple of batters were unable to put the ball into play like they needed, and the Lady War Eagles left one stranded going into the bottom of the inning.

The Lady Indians spent the next couple of innings battling to put runs on the board. Starting pitcher Natalie Robinson drilled a double to center field, and catcher Natalie Schubert brought in the first run of the game right after with a single to left field.

Lady Indian Hayley Voyles contributed to the victory on Thursday.

During their next turn to bat the Lady Indians scored a total of six runs to bump the score up 7-0. Hayley Voyles hit a single to center field, and an error on the Lady War Eagles allowed the runners to advance. A string of back-to-back walks and singles gained the Lady Indians three more runs. This drive was capped off by a double from Schubert that brought in three runners. After some impressive offense the Lady Indians left the inning with a comfortable lead.

The Lady War Eagles fought over the next couple of innings to put runs on the board. A couple of singles put the ball into play, but great defense from the Lady Indians held them back.

In the bottom of the fourth the Lady War Eagles walked Robinson and Lauren English. With her teammates in great scoring position, substitute catcher Grace Jones launched a double to left field to score a run. Two batters later, Voyles sent the ball to left field again to bring home two Lady Indians. Another error on the Lady War Eagles gave Voyles time to come home, and the Lady Indians went from an 8-0 lead to an 11-0 lead. After the Lady War Eagles were unable to put anything else on the board in the bottom of the fifth, the Lady Indians won on another run rule 11-0.

Starting pitcher for the Lady Indians Natalie Robinson pitched a total of four and a half innings allowing no runs with five strikeouts. The Lady Indians have a record of 4-4 going into their first region game against Dawson County on Monday.

“Tomorrow we’re gonna work,” said head coach Joe Jones about preparing for region play. “We’re gonna have a good workout tomorrow, give them a little time to recuperate this weekend and hopefully go and play with a lot of confidence on Monday.”


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