MARYVILLE, Tenn. – Huntingdon senior Bree Giordana is known for her pitching, not for hitting the long ball. But Saturday afternoon, she did both in the second round of the Great South Athletic Conference softball tournament.
The two-time GSAC Pitcher of the Year fired a three-hitter, struck out nine and hit her first career home run to lead Huntingdon in a 3-1 win over Piedmont. The win puts the Lady Hawks (27-13) in the GSAC tournament championship game against Maryville on Sunday at 11 a.m. CST.
Huntingdon needs one win to claim the GSAC title. Should the Lady Hawks lose, an "If" game would follow.
"It feels great to be back in the finals, but we can't let up," Giordana said. "We still have business to take care of on Sunday."
This is the second straight year Huntingdon has appeared in the tournament finals. Last season, the Lady Hawks lost to Piedmont twice to finish as GSAC runner-up. Huntingdon's last GSAC tournament title was in 2006.
"We're going in prepared to play our best game yet," Huntingdon head coach Gynger Williams said. "Everything is on the line and we have to play our best."
Williams said Giordana's two-run homer in the second inning set the tone on Saturday.
"Bree's home run swung the momentum our way and it felt like we kept the momentum the rest of the game," Williams said. "When Bree came around the bases, I don't think I've ever seen a smile that big."
With the score tied 0-0 in the second, Lauren Welch led off with a single. Giordana's home run made it 2-0.
"That's my first home run ever. I didn't know it had gone over the fence until I was rounding second," Giordana said. "From there, I just wanted to get to home plate so I could celebrate with my team.
"This was a team effort. Lauren had a great game with three big hits that really helped us and the whole team was focused on winning this game."
In the third inning, Welch doubled to score Jenna Rimensnyder and make it a 3-1 game. Welch finished the day 3-for-3 and Giordana was 2-for-2.