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Thunder rolls to championship
5.04 Thunder
Georgia Thunder players Bridget Devlin, Shelby Duff, Chelsea Horne, Melissa Kennedy, Tori May, Alexis Mercer, Kacee Page, Ansley Rushing, Rochelle Shuman, Whitney Smith, Marla Thompson and Kendall Usher, and coaches Jeff and Missy Rainwater have entered and won four tournaments this year. - photo by Photo submitted

The 16U Georgia Thunder softball team won the ASA Grand Slam Battle in Dublin on April 20.

The team is composed of girls from Effingham, Bulloch and Screven counties.  Thunder went undefeated in the tournament, but the championship game was a come from behind win for Georgia Thunder.  

Marla Thompson drove in the go-ahead run with a line drive deep into right field in the second inning of international tiebreaker play.

Alexis Mercer was the tournament most valuable player and also had the team’s lone out-of-the-park home run.

The Thunder has played in four tournaments and won all four. Earlier this year, the Thunder won the UFA Early Season Bash in Cordele on Feb. 23, the UFA Lucky Leprechaun in Milledgeville on March 16, and the WFC South GA World Series Qualifier in Savannah on April 12.  

The CAMFAST King of the Mountain in Covington was rained out on March 30, where the Georgia Thunder had won three straight games while out scoring their opposition 26-2.  Coach Jeff and Missy Rainwater said that the win in Dublin marked the end of the first phase of the 2008 season. Coach Jeff Rainwater said he viewed the first four tournaments as a warm up phase for the team’s ultimate goal.  

At the Georgia Thunder player/parent meeting in January, Jeff Rainwater announced his grand plan for the 2008 season, to take the 16U Georgia Thunder team to the USA/ASA national championship in Owensboro, Ky. To get the USA/ASA national championship, the team needs to win a qualifier tournament.

Eight of the 12 girls on the team are still young enough to play another year in the 14 and under age group.

Georgia Thunder 16U will make a series of out-of -town weekend trips with the focus being to win a USA/ASA Qualifier tournament. The first chance to qualify was in Columbus this weekend where Thunder will face 32 of the best “Class A” 16U teams in the state.  

After Columbus, Thunder will play in other USA/ASA Qualifiers held in Lakeland, Fla.; Burlington, N.C.; Marietta; and Chattanooga, Tenn.

The 16U Georgia Thunder team moved up from the 14U division this year after a 2007 season that featured World Series titles in both the World Fastpitch Conference and the Independent Softball Association.