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Briarwood captures state crown

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DUBLIN, Ga. --- After being denied a title a year ago, Briarwood Academy stormed back Saturday to win the school's first state softball championship.

Savannah Carani (from left), Emily Henderson, coach Hannah DeMore and Maria Celeste Johnson hold the trophy.   Billy Hobbs/Morris News Service
Billy Hobbs/Morris News Service
Savannah Carani (from left), Emily Henderson, coach Hannah DeMore and Maria Celeste Johnson hold the trophy.

The Lady Buccaneers swept Oak Mountain Academy 12-4 and 10-1 to capture the 2010 crown. The Georgia Independent Schools Association Class A series was played at Southern Pines Regional Park.

"Wow, this is a great feeling," Briarwood Academy coach Hannah DeMore said after her team won the title. "I can't believe it. It hasn't really sunk in just yet."

The Lady Buccaneers came close to winning the softball championship last year but had to settle for second place. It was then that players returning for this season decided to make it their goal to make it back into the state playoffs and win the championship.

"This is our first softball state championship," DeMore said. "It's such a nice accomplishment. Hopefully, this is the first of many."

The team was anchored by three seniors: third baseman Maria Celeste Johnson, first baseman/right fielder Savannah Carani and center fielder Emily Henderson.

"I can't say enough about their leadership to this team," DeMore said. "I will always remember them in a special way."

She said the feat is special for everyone.

"This is something all of us will remember for a lifetime," she said.

Briarwood Academy junior Maegan Bentley was the winning pitcher in both games of the championship series, pitching a total of 13 innings.

In the two games, Bentley struck out 10 batters, walked two and gave up 11 hits. She also collected four hits and drove in three runs.

Junior second baseman Kris Dawson also performed well offensively. She hit three doubles, a triple and a single and drove in five runs.

Freshman first baseman Tiffany Pate had six hits and drove in four runs. Senior third baseman Maria Celeste Johnson had six hits and drove in a run.

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