Georgia high school starts two girls' softball standouts on baseball team

Ben Rohrbach
Albany (Ga.) Dougherty High junior Takiya Davis (left) and senior Ra'Keta Shelton started for the school's baseball team. (WALB-TV)
Albany (Ga.) Dougherty High junior Takiya Davis (left) and senior Ra'Keta Shelton started for the school's baseball team. (WALB-TV)

With his baseball team well below .500 in the final week of the regular season, Albany (Ga.) Dougherty High coach Ty Hayes shook things up, inserting the two best players from his softball team this past fall.

When Dougherty took the field against crosstown rival Monroe this week, junior second baseman Takiya Davis and senior third baseman Ra'Keta Shelton gave the Trojans not one, but two girls in the baseball team's starting lineup, according to WALB-TV. Davis had already started a game earlier this spring.

"It's not taking a chance," Hayes told the local TV station. "They're athletes. They know how to play. They do it in softball all the time. The only difference is the ball is a little smaller, but they can handle it."

Added Shelton: "Sometimes you've got girls better than boys, so you might have to start two girls over some boys."

Things didn't go so well for Dougherty in a 17-1, four-inning loss by mercy rule. Shelton struck out in her only at-bat while Davis worked a walk, WALB-TV reported. But It wasn't like the boys fared well, either.

Monroe also ended Dougherty's softball season in the regional tournament this past fall. On the softball diamond, Shelton batted .571 with eight home runs, 36 runs scored and 45 RBI, producing a .628 on-base percentage and 1.317 slugging percentage. Davis, meanwhile, batted .547 with three home runs, 26 RBI, 36 stolen bases and 44 runs scored while compiling a .628 OBP and .796 slugging percentage.

It certainly isn't revolutionary for a girl to play prep baseball. According to a New York Times article on the challenges girls face attempting to play with the boys, 1,012 girls played high school baseball in 2009. Still, starting two girls in the same starting lineup has to be a rare occurrence.