It wasn’t the start they were hoping for, but it’s a long journey.
In their season opener on Wednesday, the LaGrange Academy Lady Warriors fell to Heritage School 9-1.
It’s one of a handful of games the team will play before it opens its GISA Region 4-AA schedule.
The Lady Warriors are breaking in a handful of new players, including freshman pitcher Ally Smith, so these early-season games are critically important according to veteran coach Charles Parker.
“We’ve had everybody together once. It’s just been tough getting them all together,” Parker said. “That’s why we’re playing all these non-region games before we get to region play. We’ve got about six non-region games.”
Smith made her debut as LaGrange Academy’s pitcher on Wednesday, and Parker said she pitched a lot better than the score indicated.
Smith didn’t walk anyone, and while she gave up her share of hits, she was hurt by some defensive miscues.
“We probably gave them about five of those runs,” Parker said. “We can’t do that.”
Trailing 9-0, the Lady Warriors pushed their only run across in the bottom of the fourth.
Senior shortstop Caitlynn Croft, the player with the most experience on the team, led off with an infield single, and she later scored on a wild pitch.
The Lady Warriors didn’t score again, though, and the game ended after five innings because of the run rule.
The team will be able to get some valuable practices in before its next game, also against Heritage, on Aug. 20.
The Lady Warriors are looking to bounce back from a tough 2013 season.
LaGrange Academy’s softball program has been one of the best for years, and it has won numerous state championships while coming close to winning several others.
The Lady Warriors finished fourth in the region to miss out on the state playoffs last season, though.
This year’s team is a mixture of veterans like Croft, Brandi Smalls and Heather Gooch, and players new to varsity softball.
“We’ve got some younger girls here that have never played softball before. It is what it is,” Parker said. “We got better as the year went along last year. Hopefully we’ll do that again.”