South Lamar wants to win for ‘L.C.’
Thu. May 17, 2012 at 1:00 a.m. | By Andrew Carroll
A T-shirt signed by South Lamar players hangs at the dugout in Saturday’s AHSAA regional tournament. The shirts were for injured teammate Lauren Crimm. (Photo by Photo | Stewart Gwin )
During a laughing, cheering celebration, the South Lamar softball players stopped to answer a call. Then they had to fight back tears.
Lauren Crimm, a junior utility player, wasn’t at Liberty Park on Saturday when the Lady Stallions clinched the North Central Regional championship. Crimm was in a hospital in Mississippi, recovering from burns she sustained in an accident last week. Coach Tony Seals said Crimm is expected to be at Lagoon Park as her teammates pursue a state championship.
"She’s going to have to go back to the hospital, but she was able to come home," Seals said. "She’s getting to come to the tournament, and she got permission (from the AHSAA) to sit up in the booth. The kids were pretty excited about that."
South Lamar qualified by beating Ragland 8-4 to win the regional title. Senior pitcher Kendra Wilson was the most valuable player. South Lamar was No. 3 in the final poll, and the regional field included No. 1 Ragland, the two-time defending Class 1A champion, and No. 2 Parrish.
The Lady Stallions open in Montgomery against No. 4 Kinston.
The call came when the players were getting ready to pose with the trophy.
"Lauren had been listening to the game online," Seals said. "She wanted to talk to the team. Every one of us huddled around the cell phone. We heard her voice, and she told us congratulations. It was an emotional moment."
Seals said the accident occurred last Thursday, when Crimm was at home because of an illness. She apparently tried to fry some food but was burned in a grease fire. When Seals found out, he went to the home.
"She was able to talk to me, but I could tell she was in pain," Seals said. "I knew it was serious. Seeing one of your players like that, it was very disturbing."
The Lady Stallions showed up at Liberty Park wearing T-shirts that read: "Gettin’ it Done for L.C." The back featured the number 10 and Philippians 4:13. The Bible verse reads: "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." A signed T-shirt was displayed in the dugout.
Seals said Crimm played every position in the infield, saw action in the outfield and usually hit for Wilson when Wilson pitched.
"The goal for our seniors was to win a state championship," Seals said. "The last four years we’ve been in the final four, and we’ve been the state runner-up. Lauren was our leading home-run hitter and a great leader on the team. All of a sudden, she’s missing. The players wanted to win it for her.
"I’ve been here seven years, and I’d say it was the most focused, most mission-minded team I’ve ever been associated with for two days. I hope they can duplicate it for one more weekend."
Along with Wilson, the South Lamar seniors are Laken Hancock, a shortstop and pitcher; right fielder Katlyn Bryant; and second baseman Kallie Pollard, who sat out the final win against Ragland with a sore ankle. Seals said Pollard should be fine for the state tournament.
Other probable starters are junior catcher Karoline Holsonback; freshman first baseman Hannah Cox; eighth-grade third baseman Bailie Springfield; junior left fielder Blake Hardin; and junior center fielder Jessica Wheat. Seals said freshman Mallorie Shaw can fill the role of designated player.
Reach Andrew Carroll at email@example.com or at 205-722-0223.