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Caleb Turrentine / The Herald Edgewood’s Haylee Brown swings at a pitch against Bessemer.

Haylee Brown made the most of Edgewood’s final three games before the AISA took at least a three-week pread due to the coronavirus outreak. 

Brown finished with eight hits in just 13 at bats and led the team with eight runs scored during the Macon-East Tournament. She also made some noise in the circle, pitching a complete game in a win over Crenshaw. 

Brown is the Elmore County Player of the Week.

“Haylee played really well,” Edgewood coach Darryl Free said. “She has been consistent at the plate for us all year. And she has taken on the role of being a No. 2 pitcher for us and to have success in a tournament, we would need her to have some quality innings.”

After Thursday’s win over Lowndes, it was unclear whether Edgewood would step back on to the field because of the COVID-19 spread. Brown said she and her teammates played every game with a do-or-die mindset and she believes that helped them perform well.

“It definitely did,” Brown said. “We all thought Thursday would be our last game but we got told we could play in the tournament. Every game could be our last because you never knew when they will just call it. If we didn’t have that thought in our minds, we would have just coasted through. That woke us up.”

Edgewood (11-5-1) managed to reach the final of the tournament before falling to No. 1 Macon-East for the third time this season. Despite the loss in the championship, Brown tallied two more hits and two more runs.

“If Nos. 1 and 2 are not getting on base, it’s great to have someone like Haylee step up to start a rally,” Free said. “She’s such a versatile player in the lineup. She is well-rounded and that makes it hard for opponents to get her out.”

Brown recorded three doubles and finished the weekend with three RBIs but some of her best plate appearances came when she did not need to put the ball in play. After walking just once in the team’s first 11 games, Brown drew five walks and was a hit by pitch.

“Since ninth-grade year, people have tried to pitch around me,” Brown said. “I have tried to have a better eye. I like to hit the ball but the walk is a walk and that gives the team a baserunner. I had to do everything I could to get some runs in.”

In 19 plate appearances, Brown saw an average of 3.7 pitches and had four plate appearances with at least six pitches. She recorded a team-high .737 on-base percentage during the tournament and raised her season mark to .549. 

“She’s comfortable at the plate,” Free said. “When she steps into the box, the game slows down for her. She’s very hard to strike out which leads to her walks. She’s able to get into those long battles to try to make the pitcher to make a mistake.”

Along with her performance at the plate, Brown was a rock on defense, finishing without an error on 17 total chances to keep her season’s 1.000 fielding percentage in place. She also allowed just one run in 10 innings in the circle.

“I kind of surprised myself because I haven’t pitched a lot,” Brown said. “I was just working on my hitting and defense but we came out this year and we needed another pitcher. I just go out and try to throw as hard as I can and let the defense help me out.” 

Caleb Turrentine is a sports writer for Tallapoosa Publishers Inc.