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Area Top 10: Lawrence County takes South State

In the first installment of a series, The Daily Leader looks back at the 10 biggest moments in sports from the area over the 2017-2018 athletic year. Presented in no particular order, this first article takes a look at Lawrence County’s Lady Cougars softball team winning the South State Championship.

Lawrence County delivered a 4-3 walk-off win in the South State Championship game against Newton County in 10 innings after dropping game two earlier in the day.

What happened

The Lady Cougars had fallen short in a blowout to Newton County earlier in the day, and were forced to play a game three with the winner advancing to the state championship series against Kosciusko.

The game was a pitchers duel for the first seven innings of the contest, as Lady Cougar senior pitcher Josey Nations kept Newton County off the scoreboard until they plated a run in the top of the sixth inning.

Lawrence County scored a run in the seventh inning to send the game to extra innings, and after the two teams traded runs in the next two innings the Lady Cougars had an opportunity to score a run to advance to the state championship series after third baseman Raylee Ready snared a line drive at third base to get the Lady Cougars out of the top of the 10th without giving up a run.

They did just that, as Abbie Errington delivered a walk-off single to left field and the Lady Cougars into their first state championship series in program history.

The Lady Cougars would play a hard-fought contest against the Lady Whippets in the championship series with Kosciusko coming out with a series victory in two games.

Why it mattered

Lawrence County had been so close to making it into the state championship series the previous years, only to see North Pike or someone else take the opportunity.

The Lady Cougars finally had their opportunity, but it was against a perennial power in Newton County, and things didn’t come easy.

It was impressive how the Lady Cougars didn’t panic after losing in game two and being forced to play a third game of the series.

They played the full seven innings, and 10 innings in the game-three contest, and that’s what set them apart and advanced them to their first state championship in program history.

What they said

“I’m really proud of our girls and everything that we accomplished,” Lawrence County head softball coach Meleah Howard said. “We battled all night, and this senior class has done so much for us, and I’m proud of them to win this and play for a state championship,”

“I just tried to stay ahead in the count all night,” senior pitcher Josey Nations said of the game three victory. “I wanted to make them throw strikes and have my defense work .”

“I wanted to be up in that situation,” outfielder Abbie Errington said of her game-winning hit. “I knew that I had a chance to send us to the state championship.”