SOFTBALL: Blue Mountain, Pine Grove claim division titles

The Blue Mountain Lady Cougars captured the schools first division slow-pitch title Monday with a sweep of Shelby Broad Street. Pictured front row, from left, Andrea Reyes, Zanaiyah Daniels, Lee-Ann Frazier, Lacie Manley, Tyshona Carter and Dejauna Foote. Back row, from left Dontae Knox, Savanna Johnson, Osheauna Foote, Brittany Brown, Emily Brown, Tycorious Williams, Rickayla Hoyle, Tyesha Gaillard and Head Coach Jeff Lollar.

The Blue Mountain Lady Cougars had never won a division tittle in slow-pitch or fast-pitch softball, until Monday.

The Lady Cougars (10-10) swept Shelby Broad Street 13-3 and 15-3 to remain undefeated in Div. 3-1A and win the schools first league slow-pitch title. It will be their third straight trip to the Class 1A playoffs. They finished second in division in two previous years.

“It’s great for us,” said Coach Jeff Lollar, now in his eighth season at Blue Mountain. “The girls have improved all year and worked hard. The girls are real excited. I know next Tuesday is going to be a test for us, but we will see what happens.”

The Lady ‘Cougars will be the higher seed in their opening round matchup, set for Tuesday, Oct. 15, but they host a very good Div. 4-1A No. 2 in the Smithville Lady Seminoles, the defending 1A state champion.

The best-of-three opening round series begins at 5 p.m. at Blue Mountain. If needed all three games will be played in one day.

“I know they are defending state champions, but I think that’s what my girls need. We need to see where we are at,” added Lollar.

Against Shelby, senior Lacie Manley blasted her first grand slam and Tycorious Williams added a home run to lead the offensive charge in Game 1. In Game 2, leadoff hitter Brittany Brown had four hits, including two doubles and scored three runs.

Best season ever

The Lady Cougars have a 10-10 record, one of their best marks in recent memory to this point, with two games remaining as of Monday. Lollar said the the difference this season has been a better attitude, mature pitching, getting a taste of winning and the addition of some younger talent.

“The additions of my three seventh graders, Savanna Johnson, Tyesha Gaillard, and Zanaiyah Daniels has helped us,” said Lollar. “We also have players playing with a year under their belt and Lacie is helping up with her pitching. When her pitching is on, we’re pretty good. Her maturing as a pitcher has really helped us. And my juniors, Tycorious Williams at first, Brittany Brown at shortstop and senior Emily Brown in center-field, has really helped us.”

“And their attitude also, they enjoy willing, since they got a taste of wining and they know how it feels,” said Lollar. “After losing, losing, losing for years, they get a chance to taste wining and found out it can be fun. We’re having a lot better time. Getting along a lot better. We just have fun together.”

Lady Panthers claim Div. 1-1A title

The Pine Grove Lady Panthers (16-6, 9-1) won Div. 1-1A after reeling off nine straight league wins. They will host Div. 2-1A No. 2 seed Myrtle Tuesday.  First pitch is set for 5 p.m. for the best-of-three series.

It was a surprising regular season finish for first-year coach Will Wallis. He expected a playoff appearance, but with his first coaching gig, he didn’t know if he could guild them to a title.

“It’s exciting, we started off bad and I think it woke the seniors up,” said Wallis. “We lost our first division game to Jumpertown and I think they thought they may not get in (the playoffs). They just got hot and started beating people. They really turned it around.

Walnut back in the playoffs 

The Walnut Lady Wildcats (13-9) are back in the playoffs after a one-year absence. Sixth-year head coach Kelley Hopper has led Walnut to five post-season appearances in slow-pitch softball. The No. 2 seeded Wildcats will travel to face Div. 1-2A No. 1 seed  Baldwyn on Tuesday.

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