Amanda Maddox’s Rutland softball team has been a dominant force all season, going 19-9.
Rutland made it to the playoffs and is now among the final eight teams fighting for a state title in GHSA Class 3A. Rutland faces off against Calhoun in the championship tournament at 5 p.m. on Thursday, and Maddox’s goals are set on winning a state title.
“I think we have the talent with these girls to do it even though we are young,” Maddox said. “The relationship I’ve built with girls just makes it that much more special.”
The Hurricanes have been powered by an underclassman pitcher in Bailey Caldwell. Caldwell and fellow underclassman Taylor Stewart have helped the Hurricanes stay in games, allowing just four runs in the past four games, including a 1-0 shutout of Appling County to send them to the quarterfinals.
“(Caldwell) has peaked at the right time. Really both of them have,” Maddox said.
While the pitching has held teams in check, the Rutland offense has offered just enough run support, winning multiple one-run games down the stretch.
“I think it makes them strong and gives them a little more confidence,” Maddox said of the close wins. “Then being mentally prepared has helped a lot.”
Just making the trip to Columbus is not the goal for the Hurricanes.
“It is what you work for every year. It’s just another stepping stone. We want to make it past the Elite Eight,” Maddox said. “I would love nothing more than to win a state title.”