Miller softball completes the triple crown with district championship

Skylan Akins

The Miller softball team, along with their coaches, are all smiles after their hard fought battle to
claim a district win after overcoming a tough Exeter team. The team made Miller history as this
is the first district title for Miller since switching to spring softball after the program started out
as fall ball. Pictured are, back row, assistant coach Kassidy Porter, Jayden Pippen, Hailey Mart,
Haylie Schnake, Kendall Neely, Lisa Morris, Caitlyn Burks, Kailey Hull and coach Audrey LaSalle;
middle row, Lillie Ricketts, Alyssa Hill, Marisa Laxton, Kaylee Thom, Alexis Bailey, Alexa Houston,
and Gracie Ray; front row, Kaylee Helton and Addison Stockton. (Photo submitted)

How often does a school win a district championship? One can argue pretty often. How often does a school win two district championships in girls’ competition in the same school year? Its uncommon, but has happened. How many schools can say they won district championships in the three major girls sports in the same year? Very few. After an 18-12 win over Exeter, Miller has completed the girls triple crown winning district titles in volleyball, basketball and softball.
It was time to crown a district champion in Exeter, Tuesday night, of last week. The hometown and second-seeded Lady Tigers took on the fourth-seeded Miller Lady Cardinals. Miller claimed their spot in the championship match up after downing Golden City in the opening round, 11-8, before knocking off defending state champions Purdy in exciting fashion, 12-11. Exeter on the other hand had little to no resistance through the district championship shutting out Verona, 10-0, in the opening round before besting the three-seed Lockwood, 9-4, in the semis to set up the unlikely championship matchup.
Miller took the batter’s box first and to say they came out scorching hot would be an understatement. Hailey Mart, Kaylee Helton, Lillie Ricketts and Alyssa Hill started the game with four hits and would all come around to score in a four run top of the first. Exeter responded with the four of the first five batters reaching base. However, only two runs crossed and Miller led 4-2 after one. The Lady Cardinals hit around the order for the second time in the second inning as Mart, Haylie Schnake, Helton, Ricketts and Stockton all reached base and touched them all to put up five runs, going up 9-2. Exeter wouldn’t go down quietly, putting up four runs of their own.
Exeter brought it to 10-9 after three innings. After junior Alexa Houston tacked on a run in the fourth, the offense exploded again for Miller in the fifth inning as eight of the nine players in the lineup either scored a run or drove one in as Miller scored seven runs on six hits to put the nail in the coffin of a crazy game. Miller defeated Exeter 18-12 to claim the Class 1 District 5 title.

This marks the first softball district championship for Miller in the spring season and the first since 2008 where they went to the final four in four straight seasons dating back to 2005.
“All season long we didn’t have the best record, but played really good competition," Miller coach Audrey LaSalle said. "I just told them that we could lose every game until district and that is when it matters. Then, I mean, we ended up messing around and winning it. It’s a big deal for the girls and the community. They work so hard and they deserve it.”
Miller Athletic Director Grant McDonald echoed the coach's sentiment regarding the Miller community.
“It has been great for the community,” McDonald said. “The people of Miller travel very well and they pack any gym we go to and it’s been a blast to be a part of. The support that has been shown to our athletic programs is unmatched.”
Miller now sits at 6-16 for the year but just one game is in the way of the Lady Cardinals making their way to the final four. They were set to travel to Jasper on Tuesday, May 17, to take on the Lady Eagles.


Lawrence County Record

312 S. Hickory St.
Mt. Vernon, MO, 65712


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