Lawrence wins TIC #110; again

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 27, 2007

MERRY HILL – The headline above this story is redundant.

Since the North Carolina Independent School Athletic Association moved to fast-pitch softball in 2000, Lawrence Academy has won the Tarheel Independent Conference every season.

Through five head coaches, seven graduating classes and more than a dozen All-State performers, the one thing that hasn’t changed for the Warriors is winning.

After Wednesday’s victory at Ridgecroft School, Lawrence secured their eighth consecutive TIC championship. The Warriors (17-1) have been so good that they haven’t lost in a regular-season league game since March 18, 2004 when they fell to Albemarle School.

Since that time, the Lady Warriors have rolled off 41 consecutive conference wins. They go for number 42 and their third straight season of going undefeated in league play when they host the Colts on Monday.

First-year Head Coach Bill Swain, who took over at three years as an assistant coach, knew this was one of the youngest teams in those eight years when he took the helm.

His lineup consists of a single senior n catcher Ashley Swain n one junior n right-handed pitcher Kendall Street n three sophomores and four freshmen.

“I knew we’d still be a good team, but I think even I am surprised at how quickly the young players on the team came around,” Swain said. “They want it bad. They have worked hard to get a taste of winning. Some of them have never been part of the success we’ve enjoyed over the years.”

Success has been all that has came the Warriors way. In addition to winning the TIC for eight consecutive years, the Lady Warriors have never finished worse than runner-up in the state playoffs. They have won three state championships n one each for coaches Lee Hoffmann, Gennia Winslow and Truitt Johnston. Brian Devault, who coached the Warriors in 2002, finished second in the NCISAA in his only season.

Since a season-opening one-run loss to public school powerhouse Jamesville High School, Lawrence has rolled off 17 consecutive wins this season.

“I thought early on we might struggle as everyone got settled, but the girls did well at adjusting quickly,” Swain said.

As for the league title, the first-year coach admitted this championship was different than the first three he was part of.

“This one’s a little sweeter,” he said. “Not only is it my first one as the head coach, but I think we’ve played much better than a lot of people thought we would.”

Swain credited Ashley Swain, Kendall Street and Leanne Eubanks for providing consistent leadership, but also said the team wouldn’t have been as successful without the consistent play of the younger members of the squad.

“The young girls have filled in nicely,” he said.

The Warriors close out the regular season on Monday and then look to win their third consecutive TIC tournament title the following week.

“We still have some goals to achieve,” Swain said. “We wanted to win the regular season, now we move on to the conference tournament. After that, we’ll start concentrating on the state playoffs.”