The team comprised of six sophomores and three juniors won all four of its tournament games in Columbus last week to claim the program’s first Class A (Private) state title since 2009.
“I still knew it would be an uphill battle for us to win it with such a young team,” ELCA softball coach Doug Campbell said. “But this year I knew we could compete and get into that final four or final three on Saturday. To actually be able to come through and win that tournament it was still not something we expected but something we knew we could do.”
Against their first two opponents, Darlington and Brookstone, last Thursday, the Lady Chargers cruised to wins before having to rally past Prince Avenue Christian on Friday for a 6-4 extra-inning victory.
“After being down 3-0 going into the sixth, to come back and win that game was amazing,” Campbell said. “That was the point when we established we were going to probably win the tournament.”
Casey Durham tied this game with a two-run hit.
Then last Saturday after Prince Avenue edged First Presbyterian 1-0, ELCA defeated the Lady Wolverines, who needed two wins to become champions, 3-1 to capture their fifth state title.
“They played really well throughout the tournament,” Campbell said. “I think defensively we were as good as we’ve been all year long in those four games and I think that made the difference.”
“We all had so much fun there, it was probably one of the best memories we will have,” said sophomore Brooke Echols, who drove in the team’s first two runs in the championship game.
Interestingly, Campbell, who also coaches the baseball team, celebrated his second championship of 2013.
“It’s hard to believe but I feel privileged to be in this situation,” Campbell said. “To have two good teams in two different sports in the same calendar year and get two state championships, it’s a great feeling. I just feel blessed.”