Franklin softball 2022 district champions

In a game that featured more twists and turns than a roller coaster, the Franklin Lady Admirals (14-10) softball team won an offensive slugfest 10-8 against the Centennial Lady Cougars (11-8) at Granny White Park on Friday night.

“We are so excited,” said Franklin senior Sydney Harris. “I believe this is the first time in eight years that we are making it to regions. We are all pumped about winning districts.”

“It was amazing, especially against a team like Centennial,” said Franklin starting pitcher/reliever Abby O’Hagan. “We knew we had to get two wins, and we poured our hearts out. We just took it batter by batter.”

“We came out here to fight, and we did,” said Franklin junior Caroline Willis. “We had a lot of heart.”

“We just have to take it that we are going to be better than ever when we come back,” said Centennial junior Lauren Johnson. “We had them for three games. It is hard to beat a team four or five times.”

Franklin took the first game of the day 6-3. The score was tied at three in the bottom of the fifth inning and remained knotted until the Lady Admirals tallied a three-run inning in top of the seventh. Franklin relied on their ace starting pitcher Abby O’Hagan to stave off elimination and force a winner-take-all second game. 

In the top of the first inning of game two, Franklin was held scoreless as Centennial starting pitcher Lauren Johnson forced two pop outs and a groundout to third.

Centennial put a scare into the Admirals, tallying four runs in the bottom of the first, with RBI singles from senior Maiya Boyer and sophomore Alex Brashears, along with a run scored on a sac bunt to give the Lady Cougars a 4-0 advantage.

Franklin answered in the top of the second with a two-run homer by Abby O’Hagan and a sac fly by Sydney Harris to cut the Centennial lead to 4-3.

Franklin’s O’Hagan stranded a runner at second base in the bottom of the second, coming up with a huge strikeout to keep the game at 4-3.

In the top of the third inning, junior Lyla Gardner delivered an RBI single for Franklin to tie the game at four.

O’Hagan continued to deal for Franklin, stranding a runner at first with another strikeout to hold the game at four each in the bottom of the third.

Franklin brought the lumber in the top of the fourth, scoring three runs on a sac fly by junior Caroline Willis and a two-run double by Gardner to grab the lead 7-4.

Centennial cut the deficit to 7-6 after two runs scored on a throwing error by Franklin in the bottom of the fourth.

The Lady Cougars starter Lauren Johnson retired the side in order in the top of the fifth to keep the score at 7-6.

In the bottom of the fifth, Alabama commit Lauren Johnson launched a rocket over the fence to give the Cougars a 8-7 margin.

“I knew I had to dial in and keep my emotions good,” said Johnson. “I waited on the pitch that I wanted. She (Abby O’Hagan) was throwing a lot of rise balls and curves. I laid off the rise ball and other good pitches and got the 3-0 count. I wasn’t going to take the pitch; I was going to zip it.”

Franklin tied the game at eight in the top of the sixth with an RBI single from junior Lilley Ernest.

In the bottom of the sixth, Franklin’s O’Hagan retired the side in order, recording two strikeouts and a flyout.

The Lady Admirals took back the lead on a two-run homer by Sydney Harris to go ahead 10-8 in the top of the seventh.

“I popped up too many times in this game, so I needed to focus and get on top of it,” said Harris.

“Sydney has been an amazing hitter all season,” said O’Hagan. “I am so happy for her.”

In the bottom of the seventh, Franklin’s O’Hagan struck out the side, preserving the 10-8 win, and securing the District 11-AAAA crown.

“Abby pitched amazing not only one, but two games,” said Harris.

Centennial will travel to Summit or Nolensville on Monday, depending on the outcome of Saturday’s contest.

“We are just going to have to power back,” said Johnson. “Summit and Nolensville are both great teams, but I think we can perform better next game.”

Franklin will host the first game of the regional tournament on Monday against either Summit or Nolensville.

“We hope to keep the energy going into Monday,” said Harris.