That’s all about to change.
The 2012 Lady Ramblers, the North Georgia Athletic Conference regular season champions, completed the title two-step on Wednesday, following up Tuesday’s Game 1 victory in Ringgold with a tournament-title clinching win over the Lady Tigers at the Lowell Green Complex.
“We’re very proud of the girls,” said LMS head coach Nathan Burns. “It’s a great thing for the school to be able to hang up two championship banners, and to be the first (fastpitch) team (at LaFayette) to do it is just a fabulous thing to be a part of right now.”
LaFayette finished the season 19-5 overall, but capped the year by winning their final 12 games.
Burns pointed toward an early-season tournament at the Jack Mattox Complex in Ringgold as the turning point for the season.
“We were able to finally knock off Heritage for first time in a long time, and that win gave us some confidence,” Burns explained. “We ended up making it to the finals of that tournament, and the girls just took it and ran from there.”
After an unbeaten run in the NGAC regular season, LaFayette took down Rossville (15-0) and Heritage (9-1) to punch their ticket to the finals. There they would meet up with third-seed Ringgold, who upset second-seeded Gordon Lee in the semifinals.
Katie Cain fired a complete game with four strikeouts in the Game 1 win at Jack Mattox and belted a solo home run (estimated at 250 feet) to help lead her team to the 8-3 victory.
Kayleigh Goff was a home run away from the cycle, going 3-for-3 with two runs scored. Shayla Ludy had two hits, including a triple, and drove in two. Katie Cook also had two hits, while Madison Harris doubled and drove in two.
Then on Wednesday, Ludy’s RBI-single in the bottom of the third gave the Lady Ramblers a 1-0 lead, which they carried into the fifth inning before denting the scoreboard again.
Two singles and a walk loaded the bases for the red-hot bat of Ludy, who promptly laced a triple to the right-centerfield gap to plate all three runs. Ludy would then come home when the throw to third base was misplayed, boosting the lead to 5-0.
Pitcher Lindsey Shepherd held the Lady Tigers to just one hit through five innings, but Ringgold would score three times on four one-out hits in the top of the sixth. But Shepherd used a strikeout and an infield pop-up to strand the potential tying runs in scoring position and escape further damage.
Lewis, the tournament’s Most Valuable Player, provided the insurance a half-inning later, ripping a two-out, two-run double to right-center, and Shepherd retired Ringgold in order in the top of the seventh to cap the championship, 7-3.
Shepherd got the win, allowing five hits with three strikeouts. Ludy and KiKi Evans each went 2-for-3. Lewis reached base in all three plate appearances, while Cook and Goff each had one hit.
“This has been the best group of girls to work with, hands down,” Burns added. “They always come out and give it everything they’ve got. We don’t have just one superstar. Everyone is always picking everyone else up, on and off the field.”