No other high school softball team in Georgia has more state titles in the past decade than Gordon Lee.
Emma Langston hit a hard grounder down the third-base line to end the GHSA Class A public school championship final in six innings, 9-1 over area rival Trion. A program led by five seniors set a school record with its fifth straight state championship and 10th going back to 2004.
“I could not have pictured this state championship any better way,” senior catcher Kirbie Bradley said after her team ended the game with five runs in their final at-bat, which started at Columbus. “It’s really special to be the first to do it on our own field, too. I am blessed to be a part of such a great program. I wouldn’t trade these memories for anything.”
Senior Macie Pearson raised the championship trophy high in the air with her teammates in front of a packed home crowd that got to witness the final flurry after rain stopped the game Saturday with the Lady Trojans batting with one out and a 6-1 lead in the sixth. The Chickamauga portion included two runs on wild pitches, two intentional walks and Langston’s RBI hit for the eight-run margin.
Gordon Lee (33-1) lost only to Class AAA champion Ringgold, while its senior class finished with a record of 129-4.
Maddie Clark and Allie Farrow each drove in seven runs in the four-game state-tournament sweep, and there was no hotter hitter in the playoffs than leadoff roadrunner Addison Sturdivant. The junior hit .640 (16-of-25) this postseason with an on-base percentage of .710.
“With this program’s legacy, you want to live up to it,” said Sturdivant, who led the team with a .539 batting average (55-of-102), 30 stolen bases and 46 runs scored. “Everybody wants to beat us. There is a huge target on our back and everybody is out for blood, but we just keep on winning. We wanted this so bad.”
Over nine postseason games the pitching duo of Langston and Emma Minghini was lights out with a combined earned run average of 0.29 as they allowed just two earned runs in 48 innings.
Minghini, a junior, finished the year 16-1 overall with a 0.54 ERA and 173 strikeouts in 103 1/3 innings.
The only year this decade the Lady Trojans didn’t win it all was 2014.
“We have had some great athletes and pitchers come through the program,” coach Dana Mull said. “They have built something special. Each senior group takes it upon themselves to continue that tradition. Now that we have five we definitely are going to shoot for six.”
Normally celebrating in Columbus, fans poured on the softball field and then traveled to the home football game that also was postponed to Monday due to rain.
Mother Nature provided a grand finish for the state’s most decorated softball program, which had a team batting average of .433 and an ERA of 0.63.
Having played together since the age of 6, seniors Anna Logan, Regan Thompson, Clark, Bradley and Pearson ended their high school careers the way they began.
“We are all proud to represent the name on the front of our jerseys,” Bradley said. “I have no doubt in my mind these girls will keep winning state championships. There is great talent here still to keep the dynasty rolling.”