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ACA knocks off rival LAMP on first 4A day

Story and Photos by Griffin Pritchard | Publisher

CHOCCOLOCCO PARK — LAMP and Alabama Christian inevitably met in the AHSAA 4A State Tournament but not in a place either of them wanted to be. ACA dropped a first-round decision to Etowah and then bounced Haleyville.  LAMP picked up a first-round win over Cleburne County, but then faltered in the second round losing to eventual runners-up Rogers. 

“That’s always the toughest one to win,” said Chris Goodman, coach of the ACA Eagles. “You lose the first game, it’s tough to bounce back and win that second game. I was disappointed with the way we started the day. I think we played intimidated, which is very uncharacteristic of ACA softball.”

The Eagles and Tigers – bound to meet along the way – clashed in an epic showdown that ultimately sent the Golden Tigers back to Montgomery.

“You know for a bunch of smart girls whose average ACT score is 29, I thought they played pretty well,” said Tony Norris, coach of the Golden Tigers. “A lot of folks think we are a private school, the team we played this morning was railing on us about ‘daddy’s money’. It’s not Daddy’s money – it’s their brains that have gotten them here. We are alot like Georgia Tech having to play in the SEC. We’re smart kids and because of that, they have fantastic work ethic in the classroom and in the field.”

After a 0-0 stalemate between the well-played rivals, LAMP struck first pushing a run home. ACA answered in the fifth with a run. 

Haley Oswald singled to drive home KG Taylor and knot the game at one run each. 

Rose Costanza – in the sixth – puts the Eagles up with a swinging bunt that hugged the first-base foulline allowing Izzy Warrick to score from third. 

Goodman: “You’re just trying to scrap out some runs right there. We got a couple and got lucky. But everygame we’ve played them this year has been like that, one run; except for the Area Championship when they pitched down.”

LAMP loaded the bases in the bottom of the seventh with Joanna Joiner coming to the plate with two outs. 

Norris: “This is the second best team I’ve had as far as how far as how far they’ve gone in the state tournament. I lost a championship game to Curry back in 2016. I’ve been to the state tournament three times and this group went the second farthest.”

Joiner turned on the Warrick offering and drove it far and long, but the lake wind blew against it just enough to prevent the blast from being a walkoff grandslam. Instead it turned into a long out, caught at the fence sending the Golden Tigers home and the Eagles to the next day. 

Izzy Warrick picked up the win for the Eagles.

Goodman: “I thought Izzy pitched lights out for us. I brought her in because Rose’s arm was getting a little sore. But she’s scrappy.”

While the ACA side was smiling and focused on the next day, the LAMP side of the field was left wondering what’s next. 

Norris: “I tell my seniors that this is how you go out. You go out as a winner and despite the score they are. They are one of three teams that I’ve taken to the state tournament. In 13 years I’ve been to state three times and they are one of those teams. They set a preseason goal to make it to the state tournament and to achieve that goal, I’m proud of them.”

Founder/Publisher of Central Alabama Scoreboard. Former sportsguy, managing editor, currently working for the City of Tallassee as a Public Information Specialist and grant writer.

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