Lafayette young girls softball players are big in numbers and accomplishments.
The Lafayette Junior Lancers Gold won the seventh grade championship with a 12-0 win over Hillsboro in the recent St. Louis/St. Charles combined feeder league championship.
“It was a big moment for the girls,” coach Gary Long said. “They came together from different club teams in mid-July and worked hard during practice and games for several months. Throughout the year, they were confident, focused, yet still played the game with the kind of excitement and joy that is often lost in youth sports.
“They were very excited to finish the season undefeated and with a championship in hand.”
The Gold team scored a total of 46 runs over four postseason tournament games, while allowing only two runs.
The squad went undefeated at 14-0.
In the championship game, the Gold Lancers rapped out 12 hits in 22 at-bats, while holding Hillsboro to one hit over four innings. Taylor Nania hit a home run. Abby Carr, Avalyn Long and Nora Oswald all hit doubles. Addison Penn and Josie Alspaw each had multiple hits. Carr was the winning pitcher.
“They all hit the ball extremely well during the tournament,” Long said.
The top pitchers throughout the tournament and the regular season were Alspaw, Penn, Carr and Clare Carroll.
Gold team players were Nania, Long, Mary Hails, Alspaw, Penn, Carr, Oswald, Carroll, Ali Branson, Sophia Dhanani, Sydney Berger and Aubrey Sinn.
In the regular season, the team scored a total of 103 runs and allowed a total of just 12 over the 10 games.
Before topping Hillsboro in the tournament, the Gold Lancers defeated Francis Howell 10-0 before blanking Festus 9-0 and then in the semifinals topping Eureka 15-2.
Along with Long, the other coaches were Ben Branson, Cory Penn, Kenyon Hails, Diane Long and Megan Weidner.
The Lafayette Junior Lancers Black team went 8-1 in the regular season. The Black squad finished 2-1 in the tournament. The Black team beat Liberty in the first game 6-2 and Parkway South in the second game 12-3. However, the girls lost to Hillsboro 8-2 in the semifinals to be eliminated.
The Black team shared the same coaches as the Gold team.
In all, there were four teams of Lafayette girls in the league. Besides the Black and Gold teams, there was a White team that was made up primarily of fifth and sixth graders. There also was an eighth grade team.
“The number of girls shows the growing amount of interest in softball in the area,” Long said. “The high school does a good job through its summer camps encouraging feeder league participation. And the feeder league coaches spend a considerable amount of time informing parents and kids of the opportunity. We did not cut a single girl from the program this year.’
While the numbers were good, Long said the girls could perform.
“More encouraging than the quantity of girls is the quality of play,” Long said. “The girls in this area play competitive softball throughout the year. The high level of play and skill is a testament to the area teams and coaches teaching the girls the game.”
The Feeder League practices kick off each year in mid-July. The teams practice out of Pond Athletic Association. More information on feeder league is available through the Pond website.
“(The) Gold is looking forward to defending its title at the eighth-grade level while Black is looking forward making it back-to-back championship seasons at the seventh-grade level,” Long said.