“Making it to Columbus never gets old,” said Blessed Trinity softball coach Jan O’Donnell. “It’s the goal every year, and this group of girls has earned it.”
The Lady Titans will play defendine state champion Buford in the opening game of the Class AAA championship tomorrow. The Championship tournament will be an eight-team bracket played in a double elimination format — tournament play is held at South Commons Softball Complex.
Blessed Trinity is making their sixth appearance in the Elite-8 in the last eight years. The Lady Titans made the Final Four in 2008 and won a state championship under O’Donnell in 2007.
“Anything can happen in Columbus,” said O’Donnell. “Our seniors were determined to win [against LFO] and I would love to see this amazing group of seniors go out holding a trophy over their heads.”
Led by the play of senior Mary Bryce Pring at the plate and in the circle, Blessed Trinity rallied to beat LFO in game one of their second round series 4-3.
Trailing 3-1 in the eighth inning, Pring roped a two-run double that scored Jackie Kinney and Makayla Chrismon to tie the game 3-3. Senior Mary Kate Sullivan scored Pring one batter later with a game-winning single to left center.
After falling behind again in game two, the Lady Titans’ bats came alive again en route to a 9-7 victory that sealed their trip to Columbus. O’Donnell said that despite some errors in the field, Pring came through on the mound again with the help of their offense.
“The bats came alive and we put a lot of runs on the board. Mary Bryce was unbelievable on the mound all day and Jackie, Mary Kate, Katie Nichols and Makayla provided the offense we needed,” said the BT coach.
“Our offense really seems to be peaking at the right time.”
Other AAA teams qualifying for the state championship tournament include Chapel Hill, Ringgold, Jackson County, Central-Carroll, Jackson and Pike County.