At 24-2, Vancleave softball team riding huge wave of momentum in playoffs
Sophomore standout Avery Johnston leading the way for the Lady Bulldogs
VANCLEAVE, MS (WLOX) - Needing just three outs to seal the series, clinging to a one run lead? A stressful situation for some, but just another day at the office for Avery Johnston.
What was going through her mind in that moment?
“Just that we need to get three outs,” Johnston said.
Her performance in Vancleave’s nail-biting 1-0 win over Northeast Jones to clinch the first round series victory is just the latest accolade for Johnston. The University of Mobile commit has over 200 strikeouts and more than 20 wins to her name this year - and she’s only a sophomore.
“We have one of the best pitchers in the state," Vancleave head coach Donna Bragg said. "She’s just awesome. She’s got a lot of spin, a lot of movement. She’s small, but she’s one of the best, hardest workers on this team. She just doesn’t settle for mediocre.”
But as Johnston will tell you, it takes much more than any one individual performance to put together a season like Vancleave has. In their 26 games so far this year, the Lady Bulldogs have lost only twice, currently holding an overall record of 24-2.
“I think it’s heart," Johnston said. "We have a good team that forms together, that comes together as a team.”
“We just all work as a team," Vancleave senior catcher Sarah Vice said. "There hasn’t been one person that stands out and everything, we’ve all just worked as a team to come where we are right now.”
Within the last two years, the Vancleave volleyball and baseball teams have already made history, bringing home the first team state championships in the school’s entire existence.
These Lady Bulldogs aren’t looking any farther than their next opponent, but would love to leave behind a legacy of their own.
“(Winning state) would mean so much to each and every player,” Johnston said.
“It would be amazing," Vice said. "Honestly, it would be mind-blowing, just crazy.”
“We have two other teams that have gotten state championships," Bragg said. "Our goal really out here is just to work and do your hardest, be the best person and the best ball player you can be, and if we can take a state championship we’ll take it.”
The Lady Bulldogs can get one step closer to that goal starting Friday (April 26), when they visit West Lauderdale for game one of their second round playoff series.
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