COLUMBUS — It wasn’t the storybook ending the 10 seniors on Loganville’s softball team had hoped for, but it was still a magical season nonetheless.
The Lady Devils’ run for a state title came up just short as the Loganville fell to Locust Grove 8-1 in the Class AAAAA State Championship Saturday in Columbus.
After losing its opening game of the state championship tournament, Loganville fought back through the losers bracket, winning four games in a row, to earn a berth in the title game.
“Playing that many games in one day is tough,” head coach Alan Maddox said. “We played softball for over seven hours straight today. The cards were definitely stacked against us, but it’s one of those things where I felt like we had the pitching to do it and we were set up to get rolling. To fight and put ourselves in a position to play for the state title is pretty spectacular.”
Loganville’s battle started Friday night when the Lady Devils eliminated fellow region opponent Walnut Grove 6-1, then capping off the night with a 6-3 win over Thomas County Central.
The wins Friday night set up a rematch between Loganville and Buford in an elimination game Saturday morning. Much like in the Region 8-AAAAA championship game, the Lady Devils defeated the Wolves and were able to stay alive in the tournament.
Loganville defeated Bainbridge 5-4 to earn a berth in the Class AAAAA title game, but having already lost one game, the Lady Devils would have needed to beat Locust Grove twice to clinch the title.
Locust Grove had other plans and came out swinging and jumped up on the Lady Devils 8-0 in the third inning thanks to a handful of home runs. Loganville tried to get a rally going late in the game, scoring a run in the fifth and a run in the seventh. However, it wasn’t enough to overcome Locust Grove’s potent offense and the Wildcats clinched the title once the seventh inning came to a close.
“Credit to Locust Grove, they’re good. They swing it well, they don’t get cheated and they put the ball in play,” Maddox said. “Once they went up I think we just kind of ran out of steam. I’m proud of the girls though, it’s been 17 years since our program has been here and we said at the beginning of the year we wanted to play for a title. I’m proud of them sticking with it and getting that opportunity even if we finished second.”
The Lady Devils finished the season with a 29-11 record, a Region 8-AAAAA title and as the Class AAAAA state runner-up.