Originally created 05/13/05

Lions on the prowl for first state championship



Kristin Wallace has grown up with the Augusta Christian softball team.

Wallace was a freshman on the inaugural Lions fastpitch squad and is now the only senior on the school's first region championship team.

Augusta Christian (13-4) won the region title May 6 by beating defending South Carolina Independent Schools Association Class AAA state champ Cardinal Newman, 9-8, in eight innings.

The quest for a state title will begin at 4:45 today against Porter-Gaud in Lexington, S.C., at Oak Grove Softball Complex. The double-elimination Lower State bracket will continue through Saturday afternoon, with the championship at 4:30 p.m. at the Pine Grove Softball Complex in Lexington.

"We aren't going just to see how good we are," Lions coach Stephanie Miller said. "We are going to win the whole thing."

Miller, a Butler graduate and four-year player at Augusta State, is in her first season as coach of Augusta Christian and said she knew her team would be strong after the first practice.

"We have a bunch of girls that excel at every position and in every aspect of the game," she said. "We have girls that hit for power and average and ones that can bunt. We just have a strong team, top to bottom, and I could see that from day one."

If the Lions are to win the state title, then a majority of the work will come from the right arm of Wallace, a three-time all-state pitcher.

"She is a leader for us and she deserves all the honors she has received," Miller said. "We have a lot of faith in her and I know she will give us her best effort in every game."

- The Lions aren't the only local team in the state tournament.

Wardlaw Academy, which dealt Augusta Christian two of its four losses, is in the Class A bracket.

The Patriots don't play in the opening round and will play the winner of Bowman Academy and Jefferson Davis at 4:45 p.m. today at Pine Grove.

Reach Jonathan Heeter at 868-1222, ext. 116 or jonathan.heeter@augustachronicle.com.

LAST CHANCE

The Silver Bluff softball team goes for its third Class AA title in the past four years tonight.After failing to win the championship series at home Wednesday night, the Bulldogs travel to Greenwood High for a third and final game against Chapman at 6:30. Silver Bluff (25-3) won the first game 4-1, but lost 3-2 in the second game at Petticoat Junction.

Jessie Clark takes the mound again for the Bulldogs tonight. She is 18-3 on the season with a 0.65 ERA in 139 innings pitched.

To get to Greenwood High, at 1816 Cokesbury Road in Greenwood, take US Highway 25 north. Make a right on the US 178 Bypass and go for 6.3 miles. Turn right on Cokesbury Road. The school is just over a mile on the right.

Source: maps.yahoo.com.