The Banks County High School softball team closed out the 2011 season last week finishing just one game short of making the state tournament.
The Lady Leopards finished with an 18-10 record and 4-6 in sub-region play. While BCHS did not reach its goal of making the state playoffs the Lady Leopards have continued to build a program that is quickly becoming one of the top programs in 8-AA and in Northeast Georgia. This season marks the third consecutive winning season for BCHS, which is the longest streak in school history.
Earlier in the season BCHS placed second in the Gold division at the North Fall Classic at North Georgia College and State University in Dahlonega. The Lady Leopards also brought home first in the Silver division at the Evans Invitational in Augusta.
Several team members stood out at the plate for the Lady Leopards this year. Madison Franklin led the team with a .500 average, 31 RBIs, and 34 runs scored.
Hayley Warner finished the season as the hottest hitter in the lineup and ended with a .427 batting average with 15 RBIs and 21 runs scored.
McKenna Rylee was also a key contributor hitting .380 with 27 RBIs and 25 runs scored. Lindsey Elliott and Kaitlyn Stewart added to the offensive mix with a .375 average and a .310 average respectively.
BCHS primarily used two pitchers this fall. Savannah Denton and McKenna Rylee stepped up for the Lady Leopards this year.
Denton threw 118 innings while only walking 18 batters and striking out 66 batters. She finished the year with a 2.79 ERA and a 10-9 record. Rylee threw 23.2 innings while walking 10 and striking out 16 batters. Rylee ended with a 1.48 ERA and a 5-0 record.
The Lady Leopards will graduate only one senior but she will be difficult to replace. Franklin has been a four-year starter at shortstop and has been a major contributor at the plate. Over the last four years, Madison has help lead the Lady Leopards to a school record of 70 wins.
The JV Lady Leopards finished out a very impressive season with an 8-0-1 record. The JV team was led the in the pitching circle by Leah Dowdy who had eight wins on the season. She pitched 46 innings while striking out 26 batters and only walking four batters all year. She ended the season with an impressive 0.76 ERA.
Several players stood out offensively for the JV Lady Leopards this season.
Overall, BCHS hit .357 as a team. Kaitlyn Duncan ended the season hitting .583 with three RBIs and four runs scored. Shelby Parson hit .500 with 13 runs scored and four RBIs.
Both Lindsey Elliott and Kaitlyn Stewart hit .440 on the year. Elliott had six RBIs and scored seven runs while Stewart had eight RBIs and 13 runs scored. Leia Rylee hit .409 and had eight RBIs and eight runs scored. Toni Mullins hit .391 with four RBIs and eight runs scored. Leah Dowdy hit .360 with seven RBIs and two runs scored.
The future is optimistic for the Lady Leopards with eight starters and several other players who saw playing time this year returning for the varsity, coaches said. The BCHS softball team will look to get better this offseason.