Ring season at Lake HighBy EMILY GETER,
The Lake High School Slow Pitch softball team was honored on Friday and presented with rings to commemorate their historic 2019 season in which they were crowned the 2019 Class I Slow Pitch Softball State Champions.
Earlier in the school year, the Lady Hornets dominated the slow pitch diamond with big bats, strong defense, and staggering statistics. On October 19, in front of a crowd of friends, family, and supporters, the Lady Hornets defeated Houston to win the last Slow Pitch State Championship ever given by the MHSAA.
After such a tremendous season and having the distinction of being the last ever State Champions in slow pitch softball, parents and supporters began organizing fund raising efforts to make it possible to purchase rings to commemorate the season. “Winning the state championship is something very, very special,” said Jeff Breland, father of junior Laurel Breland. “Very few players and coaches ever have that opportunity and it’s a big time achievement. Having the rings makes a lasting memory that can be cherished forever.”
The rings received by the Lady Hornets are a symbol of the incredible achievements of this team that ended the season with a final record of 32–3. In addition to their State Championship, the Lady Hornets racked up other distinctions, including the Region 6 championship with a record of 8–0 in the region and a South State Champions title. Laurel Breland, junior; Alana Edmonds, senior; Kaytie Hillman, senior; Taylor Duncan, junior; and Landry Leblanc, senior; were named to the All-State team, and Leblanc was the homerun leader in the entire state across all classes.
When asked what makes this team so special, first year coach, Jake Loper’s response was simple. “Hard work. They work hard, and hard work brings success.” This sentiment is reflected in the players’ responses to their achievements. “This championship means a lot. It taught us the value of hard work. It showed the community we represent that our hard work paid off,” Edmonds said.
This state championship is the first ever achieved in softball at Lake High School. The Slow Pitch Lady Hornets are under the direction of head coach Loper and assistant coaches Bethany Hunter and Jake Nester. Their fast pitch season officially begins on Friday, February 21.