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LaGrange Academy chasing another title

By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY

Daily News

They’re two wins from another title.

The LaGrange Academy Lady Warriors, after overwhelming First Presbyterian in the GISA state softball semifinals last week, will be in Dublin on Thursday for the start of the best-of-three state-championship series against Thomas Jefferson.

They’ll play one game on Thursday, and either one or two games on Saturday.

LaGrange Academy has won seven state championships

under head coach Charles Parker, with the latest of those titles coming a year ago.

Facing rival Flint River in the championship series, LaGrange Academy won the first game 2-0 behind the pitching of Amber Corley before clinching the title with a come-from-behind 9-6 win in game two.

Nearly every player from that team is back this season, including the two seniors, Corley and Natalee Waddell.

Corley will be on the pitcher’s mound as she has been so often over the years, while Waddell will be in the outfield.

Both players are hoping to finish their softball careers at LaGrange Academy in style by helping the program bring home back-to-back titles.

“We have to go in believing, and we have to try our best, and just do the best we can in the games,” said Waddell, who transferred to LaGrange Academy from Callaway before her junior season.

Corley has been instrumental in helping LaGrange Academy return to its championship form after some lean years.

Corley, who plans on playing college softball at Agnes Scott, is grateful that she has had a senior season, something that was far from certain during the summer as everyone was coming to grips with Covid-19.

“I was really worried that we weren’t going to play,” Corley said. “It does mean a lot. I would have been really sad if we didn’t play.”

Corley and Waddell have had plenty of memorable moments over the years, most notably that dramatic championship series against Flint River a year ago.

In the first game of that series, a 2-0 victory, Corley pitched a complete-game shutout, and LaGrange Academy scored six runs in the seventh inning of game two to win 9-6.

“That was so much fun,” Waddell said. “That was a great experience.”

Waddell and Corley have both been selected to the GISA all-state team, but unfortunately because of Covid-19 concerns, there won’t be an all-star game as in previous years.

“That’s awesome (to make the team),” Corley said. “I’m real sad we don’t get to play, though.”

Corley is looking forward to sharing the field with her teammates one more time, and she feels the team’s camaraderie has a lot to do with the success it has had the past two seasons.

“We’re all super-close,” Corley said. “That helps so much. When I first came over here, about half the team wasn’t talking to each other, and a lot of people quit after that year. It’s so much better than it used to be.”

LaGrange Academy didn’t face much opposition in the semifinals, beating First Presbyterian 16-0 in the first game, and 18-0 in the second game.

Corley and Lanie Lackey got the job done on the pitcher’s mound, and everyone in the lineup contributed to the onslaught.

Carolyn Lehman, Kelsey Cotton, Mackenzie Jones, Kayla McBride, Caley Worsley, Morgan Bartlett, Addison Worsley, Lexi Franklin, Corley, Lackey and Waddell all had multiple hits during the series.

LaGrange Academy will try to duplicate that performance in Dublin.

“If we go in relaxed like we did in our last game, I’m sure we’ll do fine,” Corley said.

GISA CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES

WHO: LaGrange Academy vs. Thomas Jefferson

WHEN: Thursday, 5 p.m.; Saturday, 1 p.m.

WHERE: Dublin