• 73°

Softball team finding success

By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY

Daily News

The Magic didn’t win the championship, but they made their presence felt.

The travel softball team, which includes a number of players with local ties, earned a top-five finish in the USFA World Series that was held last week in Panama City.

The 16-and-under team was eliminated in heart-breaking fashion, with an outfielder for the oppo

“It was a home run, and she went over the fence and caught it,” said Magic head coach Sam Hubbard. “That would have been the game-winning home run.”

Despite the heart-breaking way the tournament ended, Hubbard felt his players made an excellent account of themselves throughout the week.

“I’ve been doing this a long time, and we probably were the best team in Florida,” Hubbard said. “Everybody contributed.”

The team features eight players from Troup County schools, including four members of the LaGrange Academy team that won a state championship last fall.

There are also two players from LaGrange High, and two from Troup High.

Many of the players have been a part of the team since it was created four years ago as a 12-and-under squad.

“They’ve come along way,” Hubbard said. “From the first day to now, we’re a force to be reckoned with. We struggled to start with, but we’re probably one of the teams to beat when we go to a tournament. Most of the time either we win it, or we’re real, real close. You have to beat us to win the championship.”

Hubbard is an assistant softball coach at LaGrange Academy, and four of the players from that team are members of the Magic.

Among that group is senior Amber Corley, whose strong pitching helped LaGrange Academy secure a state championship last season.

“She showed out in Florida,” Hubbard said. “If Amber was strong enough to go seven games, she’d probably pitch seven games, but you can’t do it.”

Other LaGrange Academy players on the Magic team include Lanie Lackey, Morgan Bartlett and Natalee Waddell.

The two LaGrange High players on the Magic squad are Holly Lynn and Kaylee Bryant, who helped the Grangers reach the eight-team state finals in Columbus last season.

Lynn was one of the Magic’s top hitters in the World Series, and she hit a three-run home run in one of the victories.

“She’s the anchor for our offense,” Hubbard said of Lynn. “She’s a real good hitter.”

Also on the team are Troup High’s Shelby Addison and Madeira Sirmons, and the remaining team members are Morgan Smith, Courtney Cannon, Lina Waldroup, and Hannah Vanhouten.

“A couple of them, next year will be our last year together,” Hubbard said. “Our seniors are going on. We are building another tam to come behind them with younger girls. They’re our new group, so we’re looking to be around a long time.”

sing team stealing a home run away from Holly Lynn, who will be a junior catcher at LaGrange High this fall.