WOODSTOCK — Creekview was in a difficult position coming into the day, but the Lady Grizzlies pulled off four straight wins to win their slow-pitch softball state championship Thursday at the Twin Creeks Softball Complex.
Any loss would have eliminated Creekview (20-1), but it dominated Jefferson County 14-3 in five innings and Kennesaw Mountain 14-4 in five innings to advance out of the losers’ bracket. The Lady Grizzlies then avenged their only loss of the season with a 13-4 win over Franklin County, then routed the Lady Lions 27-2 in six innings to win the title.
“I can’t describe it,” Creekview coach Elyse Szczepanski said. “I couldn’t have coached a better group of girls. We lost to the same team (Wednesday), but we came back and beat them twice (Thursday).”
It marked just the second team state championship in school history, following the fast-pitch softball team’s 2017 title.
Creekview may have been coming off its first loss of the season, but it showed how it went undefeated in the regular season with an explosive offensive performance.
Josie Johnson handled the pitching, while the Lady Grizzlies got production from the top three spots in its lineup.
Brianna Stubbs was a combined 8-for-15 from the leadoff spot with two home runs and 14 RBIs in Friday’s four games. Ari Wright was 12-for-14 from the No. 2 hole with three home runs, 10 RBIs and five walks drawn, and Emily Wilkie went 7-for-13 with two home runs and 13 RBIs while also drawing five walks.
“After that first game, I knew we had a shot,” Szczepanski said. “The girls just really came out as a team (Thursday). They killed it.”
Not only did Creekview win each game by at least nine runs, but it took control of each right away.
The Lady Grizzlies took a 5-0 lead in the second inning against Jefferson County and a 4-0 lead in the first inning against Kennesaw Mountain. Creekview took a 3-0 lead in the first inning in the first game against Franklin County, and while a 16-run sixth inning ultimately made the difference in the clincher, Creekview led 2-0 after two innings and 8-0 after four.
“We changed a couple things in the lineup,” Szczepanski said. “The credit goes to the girls, though. They just didn’t want to lose again, and they came out and played like it.”
Though it was Creekview’s first slow-pitch title, it was not the first championship for several key players.
Stubbs, Wilkie, Hannah Fitzgerald, Faith Richards and Ashton Maloney were all key players on the fast-pitch teams that finished second in the state in 2016 and won it all in 2017, and Szczepanski said that experience helped while facing elimination.
“It was important,” she said. “It was definitely a little bit different, but they obviously know the pressure. Everyone stepped up, though. We’re like a family, and everyone did their part.”