Once again, Greenbrier emerged as the top softball team in Columbia County. The 2006 season saw the Lady Wolfpack, which lost seven starters from last year's squad, finish third in the Class AAAA state tournament in Columbus, Ga.
Greenbrier didn't monopolize all the softball success. Lakeside had one of the best runs through the state sectional loser's bracket I've ever seen. And although it finished third in the region, Evans still ended the year with a 21-12 record. Harlem claimed a sub-region championship and also reached the state playoffs.
That brings us to the 2006 Columbia County News-Times All-County teams. We'll start with a senior who could be the best softball hitter the county has ever seen.
Player of the Year: Tiffany Blackburn, Greenbrier
Coach of the Year: Garrett Black, Greenbrier
P - Kassie Bailey, Greenbrier, Jr. Her 26-8 record doesn't begin to tell the story. Bailey faced four different state championship teams this season and held opposing batters to a .158 average.
P - Kaitlin Hill, Lakeside, So. An absolute workhorse who led the Lady Panthers in strikeouts and ERA.
C - Hillary Hall, Lakeside, Sr. Her amazing performance in Lakeside's region and state playoff runs are made even more impressive by the fact that she played the last two weeks of the season with a broken finger. Not bad for a catcher.
1B - Sarah Shepherd, Evans, Sr. Hit .323 and led the team in RBI, slugging percentage and fielding percentage.
2B - Ashlyn Masters, Greenbrier, Fr. A .312 batting average with 13 doubles, four triples and 22 RBI is more offensive production than most teams get from their entire freshman class.
3B - Tiffany Blackburn, Greenbrier, Sr. One of the best softball players the county's ever seen. She hit .446 and set school records with 10 home runs and 48 RBI this year.
SS - Kaila Hunt, Greenbrier, Fr. This freshman had nine home runs, 33 RBI and hit .381 at the plate. Believe it or not, she was even better on defense.
OF -Taylor Jones, Evans, Jr. Leadoff slap hitter led the team with a .451 average.
OF - Laura Brown, Evans, So. Probably contributed more on the mound with a 1.47 ERA, but her .396 batting average is just as impressive.
OF - Alana Dyson, Harlem, So. Another leadoff slap hitter who stayed reliable for the Lady Bulldogs all season long. Her slap-hit home run in a key region game against Cross Creek made the difference.
DP - Andria Batchelor, Lakeside, Sr. Led the team in doubles and fewest strikeouts. One of the few hitters who actually raised her batting average during the postseason.
P - Brittany Newsome, Harlem, Jr.
P - Jenny Shepherd, Evans, Fr.
C - Rachel Oates, Harlem, Sr.
1B - Kelsey Donnelly, Evans, Jr.
2B - Audrey Blackmon, Lakeside, Sr.
3B - Kristen Pitchford, Harlem, Jr.
SS - Kayle Hutchins, Lakeside, Sr.
OF - Sara Oland, Greenbrier, Jr.
OF - Elizabeth Gaston, Greenbrier, Jr.
OF - Ash Florie, Greenbrier, Sr.
DP - Kacee Camp, Harlem, Jr.
Maddy Crawford, Evans
Robyn Butler, Greenbier
Bethany Anderson, Greenbrier
Kelley Hamilton, Harlem
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