When Yorktown softball coach Chrissie Saunders discusses why her players voted Amanda Laughlin as their captain, she uses the word “toughness.” Earlier this month, the Tigers got a perspective into why Saunders would use such an adjective.
Laughlin, a third baseman, took a ball to the eye during practice on May 1 after a ball she was attempting to field took a bad hop. She typically wears a mask in such situations, but did not in that instance because the drill was almost over and she had just finished batting. The injury caused considerable swelling, but Laughlin still wanted to play in her team’s game the following day. In fact, she initially tried to simply walk the injury off, only realizing it was more serious when she couldn’t see out of her left eye.
She was eventually overruled by Saunders and the team’s trainer and missed one game, something Laughlin now concedes was a good idea. But she quickly returned for the game the day after and has been in the lineup ever since. On Saturday, she had two hits in the Delaware County championship game at Wes-Del, helping her team to a 9-2 win against Delta to take the county title. With the victory, the Class 3A No. 10 Tigers (18-4) are on a 13-game winning streak.
As captain, Laughlin accepted her team’s county championship trophy on Saturday. Teammate Katy Johnson rushed in to give her a hug, and the rest of her teammates weren’t far behind.
“I’m so excited, I just want to really give it my all this season and just go out with a bang,” Laughlin said.
Laughlin’s teammate and twin sister, Crysta Laughlin, said it was easy to see her sister’s determination in not wanting to miss a game despite the severely swollen eye. While the swelling has gone down considerably, a close look at Amanda Laughlin’s left eye still reveals some redness indicative of her injury.
“She didn’t care,” Crysta Laughlin said. “She didn’t want to sit down, she didn’t want to sit out. She just sucked it up and handled it.”
Amanda Laughlin had two RBIs in Saturday’s championship game, one on each of her hits in a 2-for-3 game. She helped spark an offensive performance in which Yorktown scored at least a run in five of the six innings it came to the plate. Her first hit turned into a triple after a Delta outfielder attempted to make a difficult catch, and her second hit was a single.
Yorktown got offensive production from various avenues. Along with Amanda Laughlin, Morgan Masters and Nicole Ridgeway each had two hits for the Tigers.
Lumpkin got the start in the circle for Yorktown and pitched five scoreless innings, allowing two hits. Masters finished the game in relief. Delta plated two runs in the top of the seventh inning in one last rally, but Masters eventually induced a groundout for the third out to shut the door.
Logan Bland and Angie Naaman led the way for Delta, each finishing with two hits.
Both Delta and Yorktown set up the championship matchup with semifinal victories earlier Saturday. Delta upset Class 2A No. 4 Wapahani 6-0, and Yorktown defeated Cowan 12-2.