Pitching a no-hitter in fastpitch softball is no easy task.
In the three years she's been pitching, Harlem sophomore Brittany Newsome had come close, but had never quite accomplished the feat. Not until last weekend's AAA state sectional tournament in Dublin, Ga., that is.
In Harlem's first game of the tournament, Newsome hurled a no-hitter against Mary Persons in a 3-0 Lady Bulldog win.
"I didn't even realize I pitched a no-hitter," Newsome said. "Then when I came off the field coach told me."
It wasn't the first time she's showcased her pitching talent. In a double-digit win against Butler this season, Newsome had a no-hitter going into the final inning.
"I was nervous," she said. "There was two outs, and I tried a change-up I had been working on and gave up a hit."
Despite the single, Newsome still got the shutout and the win. It was one of 22 wins the Lady Bulldogs earned this season en route to their third straight AAA state sectional appearance. Their 22-10 overall record and second-place finish in the Region 3-AAA Tournament also highlighted a successful Lady Bulldog season.
Most of the team's achievements this season started with Newsome's arm. The sophomore pitched in all but two games for the Lady Bulldogs this year, including all four games in the region tournament.
"She has a good maturity," Harlem softball coach Melissa Chase said. "For her age she has great composure on the mound."
Although Harlem's season ended in elimination Saturday, the team's improvements from last year are obvious.
One year ago, Harlem took an early exit in the state sectionals with two straight losses. This season, Newsome led the team with her no-hitter in the opening-round win over Mary Persons. After a second-round loss, the Lady Bulldogs defeated Peach County in the loser's bracket. Harlem's season ended with a 5-2 loss to Hephzibah.
The 2-2 record at state sectionals matches Harlem's efforts two years ago.
More importantly, the team earned valuable playoff experience. With only four seniors on the team this season, the future of Harlem softball looks bright.
"Almost our whole team is sophomores," Newsome said. "Two of our seniors, Ashton (Leogrande) and Lacey (McNair), have been here for four years. I want to thank them for being out here."
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