Lady Tigers prepare to battle in AHSAA state championship

Published 6:34 pm Thursday, May 19, 2022

By Haley Mitchell Godwin

On Friday, May 20, the quest for a state championship begins for the Luverne High School softball team. The AHSAA softball state championship tournament will be held at Choccolocco Park in Oxford where 56 teams will play for seven championships. The Lady Tigers will first face number one ranked Orange Beach, the defending 2A state champions.

Dale Simmons, head coach of the girls’ softball team, said that the team will face their biggest obstacle early in the tournament and he is confident that the unintimidated Lady Tigers will get the job done.

“The state tournament includes the final 8 teams and will be double-elimination. We open against the defending 2A state champions, Orange Beach, and are excited about the opportunity to compete. We are going in with the mindset to play our game, do our job, have fun, & leave it all on the field,” Simmons said.

This is the second trip to state for two Luverne High School Seniors, Aniyah Burnett-McGhee, daughter of Chauncey Burnett and Delicia McGhee, and Indya “Keyla” Johnson, daughter of Robert Johnson and Kenyon Berry. Simmons is excited to see the seniors on the championship field again.

“Aniyah and Keyla are excited to just have this opportunity again. They were only ninth graders when we made it this far in 2019. They are a lot more mature now when it comes to what it takes on the softball field and I don’t think it will be as overwhelming for them as it was last time,” Simmons said.

Burnett and Johnson are ready for Friday and have an upbeat outlook on what will be their last battle as Lady Tigers.

“It is just a wonderful thing to be able to play with the teammates I love. We fell short in 2019 but I am excited for another chance. We are going to stay positive and focused, encourage each other and have fun,” Burnett-McGhee said.

“We have to stay committed throughout the tournament and start off just right, not too hard and not too soft so we can start strong and finish strong. We’ve got to stay positive and encourage each other through the whole thing and quickly overcome any obstacles,” Johnson said.

Luverne’s first game is Friday at 9 a.m. Tickets can be purchased at gofan.co, and games are available to watch live on the NFHS Network.