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PLA holds spring banquet

The Pike Liberal Arts School sports boosters honored their school's spring sports athletes Monday night at the Pike County Cattlemen's Association banquet hall.

The event celebrated a bunch of firsts for the athletics department.

The Patriots fielded their first junior-varsity softball team, their first track team in several years, made their first trip to the state tournament in

varsity softball and the baseball team earned its first trip to the state playoffs and final four since 1997.

"We started off with some some hard games," varsity softball coach Mindy Avant said. "When I looked at the schedule, I didn't think we would make it."

Not only did the Lady Patriots make the state tournament, they ended up pulling off two upsets in the first day. They finished third in the state and three players were named to the all-tournament team.

Catcher Anna Fannin, pitcher Whitney Johnson and Malerie Sanders were all named to the tournament team.

The baseball team also celebrated a successful campaign. Butch Austin's team advanced to the state playoffs for the first time since 1997 and made a run to the final four.

The Patriots defeated defending champions Lee-Scott in the first round of the state playoffs to advance to the final four. The Patriots lost a tough 1-0 extra-inning game in the first game of the finals and finished fourth in the state.

"I couldn't be prouder of a team," Austin said. "I think I'm closer to this team than I was to any other team."

Catcher Wes Johnson, who along with pitcher Justin Sims was named to the All-State team, said he was proud of his team's accomplishments.

"I've played on this team for six years," he said. "You really learn to appreciate the playoffs when you don't go."

The track team also had a good season in its return. The Patriots finished fifth in the state track meet.

Chase Avant was awarded the team's MVP for his performance in the state meet.

Chase Rogers led the golf team at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail tournament, finishing 11th

out of 128.