Payne’s homer lifts Lady Hawks in GSAC softball tournament

Payne’s homer lifts Lady Hawks in GSAC softball tournament

MARYVILLE, Tenn. – The Huntingdon softball team had a tough test to open the first round of the Great South Athletic Conference tournament on Friday. Huntingdon senior Aleah Payne broke a scoreless tie with a solo home run in the bottom of the sixth as the Lady Hawks knocked off LaGrange 1-0.

"Our defense played great and Bree (Giordana) threw very well," Huntingdon softball coach Gynger Williams said. "We just couldn't put the hits together today. But Aleah came through for us. I didn't think they would give her anything to hit, but they threw a changeup and she jacked it."

In a rematch of last year's GSAC tournament championship, Huntingdon (26-13) will play Piedmont in the second round on Saturday at noon. LaGrange (15-23) plays Maryville in an elimination game at 8 a.m.

Two-time GSAC Pitcher of the Year Bree Giordana (15-7) picked up the win on Friday, striking out nine and scattering five hits in seven innings.

"As the season has gone on, Bree has only gotten stronger," Williams said. "She wants to be the best she can be and she has shown that determination. I think her performance today showed why she is the Pitcher of the Year."

Payne also gave a glimpse of why she was named GSAC Player of the Year. Payne accounted for two of Huntingdon's four hits. The home run was her sixth of the season.

"Our defense and pitching kept us in this game and we were able to come out on top," Payne said. "We've had so many players that have stepped up this season. To be able to help the team with a home run today, it means everything to me. We just want to keep playing hard and let it carry over to Saturday and the rest of the weekend."