Varsity softball gears up for Region Championship Series

  • Lady Indian shortstop Evee Dornhecker is greeted by her teammates at home plate after she crushed a grand slam versus the North Hall Trojans last week.
    Lady Indian shortstop Evee Dornhecker is greeted by her teammates at home plate after she crushed a grand slam versus the North Hall Trojans last week.

The LCHS varsity softball team finished up the 2019 regular season with two wins against conference opponents, allowing the Lady Indians the opportunity to battle it out with East Hall for the Region 7-AAA championship and guaranteeing the team home field advantage in the first round of the State Playoffs, when they defeated North Hall and Fannin County to wrap up the season last week.
The wins versus the Lady Trojans and the Lady Rebels extended the Lady Indians’ win streak to four games and allowed Lumpkin to finish the season in second place in the Region 7-AAA standings with a 10-2 conference record and a 16-9 overall record.
“I am very proud of our team for putting themselves in a position to play for a region championship and host a first round home playoff series,” said LCHS head softball coach Joseph Jones. “Both of these were on our goal list that the team set at the beginning of the year.”
The Lady Indians came into last week riding a two-game win streak when they hosted the North Hall Lady Trojans at the LCHS softball field on Tuesday, Sept. 24.
LCHS senior pitcher Natalie Robinson tossed a beauty of a game versus the Lady Trojan with a one-run, complete game performance.
North Hall’s lineup struggled to get anything going against Robinson in the early innings of the game. Robinson also received solid backup from her defense to get through the first four inning unscathed.
Offensively, the Lady Indians struck first in the bottom of the third inning when Robinson helped her own cause by belting a RBI double to the gap in right center field, scoring centerfielder Brighton Harder who had started the inning with a bunt single and a stolen base.
The Lady Indians extended their lead to 5-0 in the bottom of the fourth inning when shortstop Evee Dornehecker crushed a pitch over the wall in left center with the bases loaded for a grand slam.
North Hall got a run back in the top of the fifth off a RBI sacrifice, but that would prove to be the only run the Lady Trojans would score in the contest.
A RBI double to the gap in right center off the bat of LCHS third baseman Lauren English that plated Harder from second base in the bottom of the sixth allowed the Lady Indians to extend their lead to 6-1.
The Lady Trojans tried to mount a rally in the top of the seventh, but it was squashed with a game-ending double play.
Lumpkin won the game by a final score of 6-1, improving their region record to 9-2 and extending their win streak to three straight.
Robinson earned the win for the Lady Indians, pitching a one-run, complete game. Robinson looked strong inside the circle, allowing a run off three hits while striking out seven.
The Lady Indians followed up their win over North Hall with a powerful offensive showing against the Fannin County Lady Rebels on the road in the team’s final game of the 2019 regular season on Thursday, Sept. 26.
Lumpkin outscored Fannin 16-6 in the contest to earn the victory behind the hot hitting of the Lady Indians’ lineup.
The 16-6 win allowed the Lady Indians to finish the 2019 season with an overall record of 16-9 and a region record of 10-2. The win also extended the Lady Indians’ win streak to four games and allowed them to finish the season in second place in the Region 7-AAA standings.  
The Lady Indians will now gear up to take on the Lady Vikings of East Hall in the Region 7-AAA Championship Series today, Oct. 2.
East Hall, who finished the regular season with a perfect 12-0 record in region action, proved to be a thorn in the Lady Indians’ side during the regular season and handed Lumpkin both of its two losses in conference play this season.
Despite the Lady Indians’ record against East Hall in the regular season, Jones is hopeful that the strong finish to the season by the Lady Indians will boost the team’s confidence going into the matchup.
“We just have to stay focused and stick with our game plan,” Jones said. “Overall we have had a good regular season and have played many quality teams. Hopefully this will give us confidence leading into the East Hall series and the playoffs.”
The Lady Indians will need to get the same kind of solid performances from its pitching staff, consisting of Robinson, English and Emmie Graham, that they received during the regular season in order to give the Lady Indians a chance to defeat East Hall.
Lumpkin will also need its lineup to step up in the series. If Dornhecker, English or Shubert can get hot in the series and replicate the power they showed in the regular season, it could spell trouble for the Lady Vikings.
The X-factor in the East Hall series for the Region 7-AAA Championship could be Harder. Harder, who missed most of the season due to a broken arm after being hit by a pitch during the team’s summer schedule, has been absolutely on fire at the plate for Lumpkin since her return to the team two weeks ago. The senior has compiled impressive stats in the four games she has played, including going 12-for-14 at the plate (.857 batting average), recording an .882 one base percentage, stealing seven bases and scoring 12 runs. The Region 7-AAA Championship Series will be the first time that the Lady Vikings will have to contend with Harder this season.
With the team having several veteran players and the impressive progress of the team’s young talent during the regular season, Jones is confident that his team’s experience should put the Lady Indians in the right mindset to make a strong push in the postseason.
“Most of our starters played for a region championship last year and played a first round home series,” Jones said. “Hopefully, these experiences will help the team play confident and relaxed because they have been in this position before.”
However, regardless how far the team goes in the postseason, Jones is proud of what his players accomplished in the 2019 season and of the hard work they put in to make that happen.
“Win or lose over the next few weeks, I am very proud of the effort and dedication this team has had throughout the last year,” Jones said.
The Lady Indians will travel to East Hall to square off with the Lady Vikings to start the Region 7-AAA Championship Series today, Oct. 2.
Lumpkin and East Hall will play the first two games of the best-of-three championship series with first pitch for game one scheduled for 5 p.m. and first pitch for game two is set for 7 p.m.
Game three is slated for tomorrow, Oct. 3, at 5:30 p.m. if necessary.