Rock­mart’s Love­less leads 2018 RN-T All-Area Team in se­nior sea­son

The Standard Journal - - LOCAL SPORTS - By Jeremy Ste­wart JSte­[email protected]

Rock­mart’s Emily Love­less has proven her­self time and again over her four-year ca­reer with the Lady Jack­ets, but this sea­son — her last one in a Rock­mart uni­form — stands out to head coach Steve Luke.

But it wasn’t her stats that gar­nered the ex­tra at­ten­tion. Her 15-1 record in the cir­cle and 2.13 ERA as a se­nior are on par with her per­for­mance in past sea­sons, as is her .467 bat­ting av­er­age with 29 ex­tra base hits and 55 RBIs.

Ac­cord­ing to Luke, what tested her met­tle as a player this sea­son was the com­pe­ti­tion the team faced, which the coach said was the strongest they’ve come across dur­ing Love­less’ time on the team.

“You look at the teams we played. We beat some big teams this year,” Luke said. “And for her to han­dle that pres­sure of al­ways hav­ing to go out and win, for me, that’s suc­cess­ful — for her to ac­com­plish those num­bers while fac­ing that kind of com­pe­ti­tion.”

Af­ter stay­ing con­sis­tent through those chal­lenges, Love­less has been named the 2018 Rome News-Tri­bune All-Area Soft­ball Player of the Year, an honor she’s earned at least a share of for three con­sec­u­tive sea­sons.

“She’s an amaz­ing player,” Luke said. “She’s got a work ethic as good as any­body’s. She is well-de­serv­ing of these types of awards. She’s by far the best player in our area, and she’s been con­sis­tent for the last four years.”

Love­less helped the Lady Jack­ets emerge as the top seed out of Re­gion 7-AA and fin­ish with a 26-4 record while pick­ing up wins over Cal­houn, which ad­vanced to the Class 3A state tour­na­ment, and Har­ri­son, which went on to win the Class 6A state ti­tle.

Banks County, which de­feated the Lady Jack­ets in the sec­ond round of the Class AA state play­offs, went on to fin­ish as state run­ners-up.

“It speaks vol­umes of her num­bers,” Luke said. “We prob­a­bly played the hard­est sched­ule we’ve played in the his­tory of our pro­gram, and on top of that be­ing ranked No. 1 for al­most two years — it’s so much pres­sure for any player to deal with.”

Love­less fin­ished the sea­son with 42 hits, 43 runs scored and 13 stolen bases, while strik­ing out only nine times. Her 13 home runs and 55 RBIs set school records and she recorded 58 strike­outs in 82 in­nings pitched while walk­ing just 18 batters.

The se­nior helped Rock­mart make three straight state play­off ap­pear­ances, in­clud­ing win­ning its first-ever state cham­pi­onship last sea­son, and plans to sign with Rein­hardt Univer­sity next week to con­tinue her soft­ball ca­reer.

Love­less leads a group of strong area play­ers that put up stel­lar num­bers this sea­son. Team­mate Cam­bree Stan­ley con­tin­ued her suc­cess as Rock­mart’s lead­off hit­ter and is a first-team RN-T All-Area se­lec­tion for the fourth year in a row. The West Ge­or­gia com­mit had 53 hits, two home runs, 27 RBIs, 51 runs scored and 48 stolen bases, and owns school records in stolen bases (65), hits (75), runs (70) and triples (12).

“She’s had an amaz­ing ca­reer,” Luke said. “She’s ba­si­cally what made us go. She’s a spe­cial player, and will be a huge loss for our pro­gram.”

An­other Re­gion 7-AA stand­out who is a first-team se­lec­tion is Pep­perell se­nior Mad­die Clay, who helped lead the Lady Drag­ons to the sec­ond round of the Class AA state play­offs.

The Ge­or­gia State signee led her team in RBIs (46), hits (38), runs (43), and only struck out once in 93 plate ap­pear­ances. She had a .481 bat­ting av­er­age with 14 sin­gles, 12 dou­bles, seven triples and five home runs.

Whit­ney Shep­herd led Trion’s Lady Bull­dogs to the deep­est spot in the play­offs of any area team. The ju­nior pitcher struck out 127 over 20 wins in a sea­son that saw Trion fin­ish third in the Class A Pub­lic state tour­na­ment. Shep­herd fin­ished the year with three no-hit­ters and one per­fect game, and a 1.00 ERA.

2018 ROME NEWS-TRI­BUNE ALL-AREA SOFT­BALL TEAM

Coach of the Year Jeff Rick­man, Pep­perell FIRST TEAM Name School Grade Shelby Car­lock Trion Jr. Mad­die Clay Pep­perell Sr. Syd­nie Ed­wards Pep­perell Sr. Emily Love­less* Rock­mart Sr. Syd­ney Mar­shall Chat­tooga Ja­cie Martin Chat­tooga Jr. Maycy Owens Pep­perell Sr. Alexas Poole Cedar­town Soph. Syd­ney Sey­mour Darlington Whit­ney Shep­herd Trion Jr. Cam­breeS­tan­ley Rock­mart Alexis Teems Rock­mart Soph. *Player of the Year SEC­OND TEAM

Name School Grade

Olivia Adams Darlington Maci An­drews Rome Fr. Gra­cie Burns Trion Jr. Bai­ley Coker Trion Jr. Caro­line Con­ring Rock­mart Caro­line Din­gler Darlington Jr.

Jr.

Sr.

Sr.

Sr.

Jr. Car­lee Gra­ham Rock­mart Kin­sey Jones Rock­mart Josie Mc­Graw Pep­perell Dahlia San­ford Pep­perell Lainey Simms Coosa Sr. Emma White Chat­tooga

HON­OR­ABLE MEN­TION Jr. Jr. Sr. Jr.

Soph.

AR­MUCHEE: Aleigha All­mon, Har­lie Lewis; CEDAR­TOWN: Tam­era Bee­man, Marycille Brumby, Kaylee Nikolopoulus; CHAT­TOOGA: Han­nah Thrasher, Grace­lyn Veitch, Katie Wil­lams, Clara Wy­att; COOSA: Anis­ton Par­ris; PEP­PERELL: Chloe Jones; ROCK­MART: Emma Evans, Anna Lewis, Emilee Mauld­ing, Emilee Reg­is­ter. ROME: Cassie Cov­ing­ton, Abi Curry, Madi­son In­gram, McKen­zie McNitt.

/ Jeremy Ste­wart

With a 15-1 record and a .467 av­er­age, Rock­mart se­nior pitcher Emily Love­less is the 2018 Rome News-Tri­bune All-Area Soft­ball Player of the Year, an honor she has had at least a share of for three con­sec­u­tive sea­sons.

Con­trib­uted by Gail Con­ner

CCS BAS­KET­BALL:The bas­ket­ball sea­son got un­der­way in Cedar­town for Covenant Chrisi­tan School in re­cent weeks af­ter they took on their first game against St. Mary’s out of Rome. The boys and girls squad both played, with the Lady Rams fall­ing 17-6 to St. Marys, and the boys fall­ing 30-25. Check back for more on CCS bas­ket­ball pho­tos as the sea­son con­tin­ues.

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