THE LINCOLN County Lady Falcons softball team experienced some injuries during the season, but it ended with a feat never accomplished in school history: qualifying for the state tournament.
“When we got everybody healed and back together, this bunch just really started clicking and playing for each other,” Troy Smith, the team’s head coach for the past 27 years, said.
Lincoln County went 2-2 in the 2022 Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association Class 3A Spring Fling tournament at McKnight Park in Murfreesboro. The Lady Falcons flew against the Brighton Cardinals in their first match, soaring to a 4-3 win.
Their next game was not nearly as pretty as they fell 11-0 against Lexington High School, a team that only lost one game in the season and continued on to win the state tournament.
“It was probably one of the worst games we had played all year,” Smith said.
The team bounced back in their third Spring Fling match, winning 8-7 in a backand- forth game against Dyer County. But the Lady Falcons were not able to finish out the tournament, as they came up short against Gibbs High School, losing 2-1.
Lincoln County ended their season with a record of 29-12-1 and finished fourth in the state tournament..
“The two games we lost were to the state champion and the runner up in the state, so it says a lot about the girls and their heart and desire,” Smith said.
MAKING SCHOOL HISTORY
Smith, a Lincoln County native and Lincoln County High School graduate, underwent heart surgery in January but recovered just in time to join the softball team before the regular season commenced. His assistant coaches ensured the team was prepared during his absence.
“I have three great assistant coaches that really took charge and everything else and did a lot of the day-to-day operations of our program,” Smith said.
During the season Smith led the Lady Falcons to a perfect home record of 12-0. They won the district championship then continued on to beat White County 13-1 to win the regional championship.
Lincoln County then qualified for the state’s Spring Fling by dropping East Hamilton High School 18-8 in the sectionals after trailing them 5-0 in the second inning.
During the course of the season, the Lady Falcons broke the school’s single season record for home runs, with 47. They also scored 321 runs, the most runs in school history.
Smith was proud of this team.
“This bunch just seemed to jam. They had each other’s back. They fought for each other. They didn’t give up.”
The Lady Falcons are losing six seniors, heading into the next season, but many of the younger classmen were playing this past season, and three of the team’s four pitchers are set to return.
Smith said some of the younger classmen will need to step up and fill some roles, but the coaching staff is looking forward to the next year, hoping to continue the softball team’s success.
“We’re looking for big things out of this bunch in the next couple of years,” Smith said. GN