Home Russell County Lady Lakers clinch district title

Lady Lakers clinch district title

RCHS defeats Clinton County 9-6 in 16th District final

Lady Lakers softball
The Russell County Lady Lakers celebrate their district championship with multiple confetti cannons.
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Before the season, head coach Tonya Rexroat stated that one of her goals for the Russell County Lady Laker softball team was to win a district championship.

On Saturday, the Lady Lakers made that goal a reality with a 9-6 victory over Clinton County in the 16th District championship.

“It was not an easy road,” Rexroat said after Saturday’s victory. “We had sacrifices we had to make, and then this week, we just came together as a team. I said, you know, we have to do what’s best for this team, in different situations. And whenever you’re called upon to do that, you step up and do it. And that’s what they did.”

Clinton County took a 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning but RCHS quickly battled back. Tarryn Reynolds hit a two-run single to bring in Sophie Shearer and Emma Popplewell to cut the deficit to 3-2 after the first inning.

In the second inning, Shearer hit a grounder that resulted in an error and brought home Addie Davis to tie the score at 3-3.

Jadyn Mann broke the tie with an RBI double that brought in Shearer to go up 4-3, a lead the Lady Lakers would never relinquish.

Reynolds added an RBI single with the bases loaded, and Kiara Kemp drew a walk to bring in another run to take a 6-3 advantage.

Neither team would score again until the sixth inning, when Mallie McQueary hit a hard line drive to left field for a two-run double, bringing home Mady Hatchett and Jaylee Roy.

Davis hit an RBI single to give the Lady Lakers their ninth and final run, bringing home Nevaeh Duncan.

Clinton County scored three runs in the seventh and final inning and had runners on second and third and the tying run at the plate.

But Kemp forced a fly out to Hatchett in left field, who secured the final out for the Lady Lakers.

In all, RCHS recorded 11 hits, led by Mann, Reynolds, and Davis with two hits apiece. In the pitcher’s circle, Reynolds started the game off, going two innings with a strikeout and allowing three runs. Kemp picked up the win after coming in to start the third inning and finishing the game out, recording a strikeout and allowing three runs.

After the win, Rexroat gave credit to her seniors — Payton Kinnett, Reynolds, Shearer, and Caroline Wells — for helping the team come together and win its first district title since 2019, as well as finish a perfect 8-0 in district play.

“These seniors are so close, and so, so good to everyone else,” Rexroat said during the postgame celebration. “Sometimes you have factions in your team and the players don’t mesh, but this team has been able to mesh. I see an eighth-grader out there right now hugging up with a senior, and when you’re able to join everybody together the way that they have, you can do great things come postseason. I feel like these seniors had the ability to do things that some others haven’t been able to do in the past.”

With one goal achieved, Rexroat said the team is now looking ahead to picking up a win in the 4th Region Tournament.

The Lady Lakers will find out their opponent this week and will play their opening round game on Saturday.

“It’s going to be tough because the 4th Region has some of the best teams in the state,” Rexroat said. “Year after year, they produce teams that make it to the state championship game, so we know what’s ahead of us over there. But we are happy to be one of the one of the four winners going into that region tournament, so that’s sure to help us.”

Lady Lakers - Sophie Shearer
Senior second baseman Sophie Shearer makes a flip to first base for an out.
Lady Lakers All-District
From left, senior Sophie Shearer, junior Jadyn Mann, senior Payton Kinnett, junior Emma Popplewell, and senior Tarryn Reynolds were named to the all-district team after Saturday’s district championship.
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