Lady Jack­ets come home from Colum­bus state champs, Sports

The Rock­mart Lady Jack­ets soft­ball team beat Mon­ti­cello on Fri­day and again on Satur­day morn­ing to win the Class AA state cham­pi­onship this past week­end.

The Standard Journal - - FRONT PAGE - By Tommy Ro­manach RN-T Sports Writer

Rock­mart soft­ball prided it­self all year in beat­ing its op­po­nents in a mul­ti­tude of ways. Satur­day morn­ing, it was the Lady Jacket’s pow­er­ful hit­ting that gave them their first ever state cham­pi­onship.

Rock­mart recorded 14 hits and a pair of home runs as it de­feated Mon­ti­cello 9-7 to win the GHSA Class AA state cham­pi­onship game in Colum­bus. Se­nior Kelsea El­rod hit a go-ahead two-run dou­ble in the sixth in­ning to keep the Lady Jack­ets ahead for good.

“The feel­ing is al­most in­de­scrib­able,” Luke said. “It is ev­ery soft­ball team’s dream to make that one fi­nal out to end the sea­son, to end the sea­son with a win in Colum­bus. To es­tab­lish our­selves as a dom­i­nant pro­gram is a goal we have al­ways had.”

This is the first soft­ball state title for Rock­mart (35-2) and the team also breaks the pro­gram record for wins in a sea­son. The team won its fi­nal 17 games and went un­de­feated in the post­sea­son.

Ju­nior Emily Love­less recorded two hits Satur­day, in­clud­ing a tworun homer in the first in­ning, and pitched all seven in­nings. Anna Lewis and Emily Mauld­ing each had two hits, and Caro­line Con­ring hit a home run in the fourth and recorded three RBIs.

The early homer from Love­less helped Rock­mart score three out of the gate, and she al­lowed only one run through three in­nings. The Lady Jack­ets added four more runs in the fourth — in­clud­ing Con­ring’s homer — to go up 7-1.

But Mon­ti­cello (24-7) fi­nally broke through, scor­ing three runs each in the fourth and fifth in­nings to tie the game.

“When you have two teams as good as us and Mon­ti­cello, it’s tough to gauge any­thing,” Luke said. “Any­thing can hap­pen in the state tour­na­ment, and you re­ally just have to be ready for it. Thank­fully, this team kept it to­gether dur­ing the come­back.”

Rock­mart started the sixth with a sin­gle from Lewis and a Macy McNabb walk. Af­ter both run­ners were bunted over, El­rod came through with a line drive dou­ble to put the Lady Jack­ets back in front. In the bot­tom of the sev­enth, Mon­ti­cello had a chance to tie it with run­ners on first and se­cond and one out. But a line drive went straight to Emily Mauld­ing at third base, who caught it and threw to Lewis at se­cond to dou­ble off the run­ner and end the game.

The Lady Jack­ets only lose four se- niors, and key con­trib­u­tors like, Love­less, Mauld­ing, Con­ring and Cam­bree Stan­ley are all set to re­turn next sea­son.

“It’s go­ing to be tough to re­place the lead­er­ship from the se­niors, but we have a ton of tal­ent com­ing back,” Luke said. “Win­ning a state title is un­be­liev­able, but we still want to get bet­ter. We still are not sat­is­fied.”

Photo con­trib­uted by Shelly Cul­ver

RIGHT: The Rock­mart Lady Jack­ets loaded up on the bus last Thurs­day for a trip to Colum­bus, one they will never for­get af­ter com­ing home Satur­day as state cham­pi­ons.

BE­LOW: The Rock­mart Lady Jack­ets soft­ball team beat Mon­ti­cello on Fri­day and again on Satur­day morn­ing to win the Class AA state cham­pi­onship this past week­end.

ABOVE: The Rock­mart Lady Jack­ets soft­ball team beat Mon­ti­cello on Fri­day and again on Satur­day morn­ing to win the Class AA state cham­pi­onship this past week­end.

LEFT: Emily Love­less put to­gether big games on the mound for the Lady Jack­ets in Colum­bus over the long week­end for Rock­mart

ABOVE: Kelsea El­rod worked hard at bat to help the Lady Jack­ets on of­fense.

RIGHT: The Rock­mart Lady Jack­ets soft­ball team beat Mon­ti­cello on Fri­day and again on Satur­day morn­ing to win the Class AA state cham­pi­onship this past week­end.

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