The Eagles earned the title by defeating Creekside Christian Academy 14-1 in the title game on May 2 at the association’s inaugural softball state tournament at Stockbridge’s J.P. Moseley Park.
The association started in 2013 and includes more than 85 member schools throughout the state. It hosted four qualifying teams from across the state for the tournament including Holy Ground Baptist Academy, Trinity Christian School, Creekside and Grace.
The Eagles started the tournament on May 1 with an 8-6 win over Creekside and 10-1 victory against Trinity, earning a berth in the title game.
“The team did great the whole season and our main focus was to win state and give our all,” junior outfielder and third baseman Marissa Lee said.
Grace Christian is unique within the Paulding area as a small private Christian school with an enrollment of only 240 students. This presented second-year volunteer head coach Dennis Vollrath with several challenges, including carrying a roster of only 11 total players heading into the state tournament.
“We had several eighth-graders and home-schooled players on the team,” he said. “Fortunately, the roster had players who have been together quite a while on travel ball and recreation league teams.”
This was also the first chance many of the players were able to participate in a state tournament.
“We weren’t in a league in the past few seasons and did really well but couldn’t play for a championship,” sophomore first baseman and catcher Bri Vollrath stated. “When the school told us we finally got into a league, we took that in and succeeded.”
The small roster has produced several benefits for the Eagles.
“We’re closer as a family and work well together while other teams underestimate us because of our size,” Vollrath said.
The future of the Eagles’ program looks stout with no current seniors on the roster.
“We have a young team and that makes the state title even better,” Dennis Vollrath said. “If we can get the kids to come back, we’ll be strong for the next few years to come.”