The Chargers traveled to Leesburg, Florida to take on the Lake Hawks of Lake-Sumter State College Friday, January 29th. Game one started off slow with no runs scored until the third inning when Highlands opened up the scoring with one run in the top of the frame. The Lake Hawks then answered with four runs of their own in the bottom of the third and three more in the bottom of the fourth. The Chargers had a late game jump scoring two runs in the top of the fifth, but it was not enough to overcome the lead of the Lake Hawks. Natalia Herrera and Taryn Hitchcock led the offensive effort as Natalia went 2-2 smacking a homerun dead center field and another hit with an RBI. Taryn went 1-4 with an RBI double. Madalyn Morton led in the circle striking out three in three innings of work, and Gracee Ellis filled in to finish the game striking out one.
The Chargers took game two in truly nail-biting fashion, beating Lake- Sumter State 1-0. The one and only run scored by the Chargers was a homerun blasted by Taryn Hitchcock in the top of the fourth inning. Madison Bennett, Natalia Herrera, Lacey Rutledge, and Alexis Poole all recorded hits throughout the game as well. Montana Ledbetter went the distance in the circle for the Chargers throwing the complete game shut-out. Ledbetter recorded seven strikeouts while only allowing three hits.
Saturday the Chargers took on two opponents in the JUCO Kickoff Classic Tournament in Clearwater, Florida. The day opened up with a game versus the Vikings of St. Johns River State College. Chargers had multiple runners on the first two innings of the game, but were not able to score until the top of the third where two runs were scored. The Vikings answered in the bottom of the third frame with six runs of their own, which proved to be enough to stay ahead and win the game. Natalia Herrera and Lacey Rutledge led offensively recording three hits a-piece, Izzy Marcotte recorded two hits, while Kyndal Brown and Taryn Hitchcock recorded one hit a-piece. Madalyn Morton started in the circle for the Chargers striking out one while allowing five hits in two innings of work. Gracee Ellis finished in the circle striking out one while allowing three hits in three innings.
Game two of Saturday featured a hitting show put on by the Georgia Highlands Chargers as they beat Eastern Florida State College 11-3. The Chargers scored in every inning of the game except the second. Izzy Marcotte and Taryn Hitchcock led scoring three RBIs. Lacey Rutledge hit in two RBIs. Natalia Herrera and Haley Overton added RBIs as well. Montana Ledbetter threw six innings allowing only five hits that scored three runs, while striking out eight of the Eastern Florida Titans. Madalyn Morton finished the game throwing the seventh inning effectively closing with a three up three down frame.
Sunday featured a sunny and 75 beautiful Florida day as the Chargers closed out the JUCO Kickoff Classic with two wins. Game one featured a rematch with Gulf Coast State College, who the Chargers played in this tournament in 2020. Highlands started off the game hot scoring three runs in the first frame. This remained the only runs scored in the game until the fifth inning when the Chargers jumped out scoring five, which put into effect the eight after five mercy rule. Taryn Hitchcock smashed a homerun over left field and recorded two RBI's. Madison Bennett, Izzy Marcotte, Bradey Tharp, and Alexis Poole all recorded one RBI a-piece. Natalia Herrera called game in the fifth inning scoring the RBI that put the run rule into effect. Madalyn Morton threw all five innings only allowing one hit while striking out one.
The final game of the weekend featured a showdown between the Georgia Highland's Chargers and the Sharks of Miami-Dade College. The Chargers started off the game scoring three runs in the first three innings that were left unanswered by the Sharks until the fifth inning. The lone run scored by the Sharks was not enough though as the Chargers took the 3-1 win. Madison Bennett, Lacey Rutledge, and Haley Overton all recorded an RBI a-piece. Taryn Hitchcock and Izzy Marcotte also recorded two hits as well. Montana Ledbetter threw six innings of the game striking out nine while only allowing three hits. Gracee Ellis recorded a save finishing out the game striking out one while only allowing two hits.
After a busy weekend two Chargers were named with GCAA Player of the Week awards. Montana Ledbetter was named GCAA's Pitcher of the Week after a stellar weekend on the mound she is now 3-0. Natalia Herrera was named GCAA's player of the week after hitting 11 times in 22 at bats, giving her a .550 batting average and a .700 slugging percentage. Herrera was also perfect in the field posting a 1.000 fielding percentage in six games.
The Chargers are back in action Wednesday, February 3rd, at Jacksonville State University where they will take on Wallace State-Hanceville in a midweek double header.