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Lady Knights Softball: 2024 NCISAA State Champions

By: Ella Weathers, Shield Editor 

The Lady Knights softball team had an outstanding season, winning the NCISAA 4A State Championship. After dropping the first game of the championship series to The Cannon School by a score of 6-1, the team rallied on Saturday, May 18, winning Game 2 by a score of 5-2 and Game 3, 4-1, to capture the state title. The softball team worked hard these past few months with the coaching staff pushing them to complete their goals. With the season ending 16-4, they achieved those goals with God and a good mindset along the way. 


Senior Ava Hodges helped carry the team to the championship win. Hodges plans to play at the University of Virginia next year.  


“We had Ava, who is the most dominant pitcher in the state, and a very good defensive team behind her. Mix in some power in the lineup with timely bunting and hitting, and that was our formula for success,” Head Coach Chris Rivera said. 


The team had standout players who gave the extra boost and skillset needed to pull the wins through the playoffs and into the state championship series. “Our leaders are Ava Hodges, Mercer Gill, Megan Jacobs, Cora Hansen, and Kelsey Knox,” Rivera said. 


The team spent the entire season practicing for the playoffs. Spending every day with each other practicing could be part of their recipe for success. “Our regular season served as great preparation for the playoffs. We were able to learn to play and develop chemistry and how to hang together when times are tough,” said Rivera. 


The team was guided by their faith, focusing on playing for not only themselves or the team but for the glory of God. "Our playoff journey was truly a testament to our team being faithful, knowing God was in control and that they just needed to focus on honoring Him with their talents,” Rivera said. 


The end of the season went as they had hoped. They made it to the state championship series and pulled out an incredible victory against The Cannon School. This win was also special because it was the first state championship NRCA softball has ever won. “Our season culminated with winning the last game we played and being crowned as state champions for 2024. We could not have scripted this any better,” Rivera said.  


Rivera coached the team to have the mindset that their hard work and efforts are to honor God. He said, “People should know that God is the Waymaker, that He is the God of new days, that He is to be honored and praised for who He is, win or lose. Our girls never wavered in their desire to please Him with the way they played and interacted with each other. They weren’t perfect, but they always bounced back to praise Him in good and bad times. The Lady Knights were truly awesome representatives of NRCA as well and have been a blessing to coach.” 


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