It simply read: “Believe.”
Hours later, it became clear that the Lady Jackets had taken his succinct message to heart.
Playing with poise and purpose — and yes, with confidence — the Lady Jackets downed Banks County, 3-0, in the decisive game of a best-of-three series in the second round of the Class AA state sectionals.
The victory, which came on a raw and blustery day, enabled Rockmart to clinch a berth in next week’s Elite Eight in Columbus. It will be the Lady Jackets’ first trip to the quarterfinals since 2004.
“We knew we just had to come out today and get it done,” said Rockmart senior pitching star Kaitie Kiser, who earned the win. “We’re really excited to be going to Columbus. This will be the first time any of us have ever been, and it’s just an amazing feeling.”
Kiser, who hasn’t allowed a run in the postseason, came tantalizingly close to throwing a no-hitter to punctuate the Columbus-clinching victory.
She held Banks County hitless for 6 2-3 innings before allowing a single to Hayley Baird on a looping line drive to left field. Kiser then recovered by getting the next batter to groundout.
And with that, the celebration began for the Lady Jackets, who tossed their gloves and visors into the air and mobbed one another in the middle of the diamond.
“This is just overwhelming,” said sophomore Morgan Brannon. “It’s going to be so exciting to go to Columbus … and today’s win was just really satisfying for us.”
Saturday started on a down note for Rockmart when Luke lost a pregame coin toss, forcing the Lady Jackets (27-8) to be the “visiting” team.
The rest of the afternoon, however, went exactly as planned for the Lady Jackets.
To read the complete story, please visit our prep sports Web site at www.prepcentralonline.com. Once on that Web site, highlight at the top of the page "teams and players" and then click on Georgia. Once that box comes up, click the Rockmart team page to view the rest of this story and other Rockmart sports stories.