North Paulding traveled to Conyers Oct. 10 to play the Heritage Patriots in a best-of-three elimination series. Prior to the state playoffs, Heritage was 28-3 and the No. 2 seed from Region 8-AAAAA.
North Paulding, the No. 3 seed from Region 5-AAAAA, lost both games, 8-0 and 13-0, but head coach Stephanie Morton said it was a great experience for the girls and the program. The team finished with a 14-12 record.
“It was a great opportunity to be able to reach a goal that has never been reached here at North Paulding softball. We had some great obstacles to overcome this season and I feel that the girls who stuck with the program and worked hard got a chance to make history,” Morton said.
With this being the first playoff situation for the Lady Wolfpack, Morton said she knew the experience factor would play a part in the outcome of the games, and what ultimately kept her team from advancing to the second round.
“We had a young team on the field with one senior, four juniors, three sophomores and two freshmen. We could never find our groove. We went into the game prepared but I feel that mental preparedness comes with experience,” Morton said.
While the team lacked experience as they played Heritage, there were a few players that performed well throughout the season for North Paulding, the coach said.
Morton named junior Nikki Vaughn, senior Maegan Hail, junior Camden Flynt and sophomore Elizabeth Shively as the team’s statistical leaders this year.
Vaughn performed at the plate this year for the Wolfpack with 21 hits, a batting average of .414 and a slugging average of .618.
Hall “is one of the best catchers in the league,” according to Morton, and has a batting average of .385 and slugging average of .712.
Morton said Flynt was a leader in the outfield, at first base and as a pitcher and was a dependable hitter with a .446 batting average.
Shively called Morton the “only sophomore who was always a leader on the mound and on the bases.” Shively’s batting average was .423 and she had an ERA of 1.08 for the regular season.