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Caleb Turrentine / The Herald Grayson Laney runs down the line to beat out an infield single during Edgewood’s win over Clarke Prep in the state semifinals.

Editor’s Note: This is part of a series highlighting the accomplishments of every area team’s senior class as their senior seasons were cut short due to the coronavirus pandemic. It will culminate in Tallapoosa Publishers Inc.’s Virtual Senior Night. For more information on that, visit www.thewetumpkaherald.com. 

Edgewood softball players have gotten used to having a target on their backs. It did not affect them last season when the Wildcats eased to the AISA-AA state title and they appeared set to make a run at a third consecutive trophy in 2020 but after the season was officially canceled, they did not get that chance.

“I think it’s all about the hard work they have put in,” Edgewood coach Darryl Free said. “The competitor in each one of them wanted the opportunity to defend what they earned.”

Despite not playing a postseason in their final year, the team’s four seniors will go out as the defending state champions. All of them were a part of the 2019 state champion squad while three were there for the 2018 title.

“They have dedicated so much time to softball,” Free said. “I told each and every one of them how proud I am of them. They are going to be great ambassadors for our school and softball program. They had tremendous talent but they were tremendous people as well and that’s a perfect scenario as a coach.”

Grayson Laney was one of the most consistent players in the class, especially at the plate, allowing her to grab a scholarship to continue her career at Lurleen B. Wallace Community College. She led the Wildcats in hits as a sophomore and she finished in the top three in her final two seasons.

During her three years as a starter, Laney hit six home runs and led Edgewood with 132 RBIs. She finished her career with a .366 batting average.

“Being able to see all of the other things for she has done, it has been fun to watch but at the end of the day, she is a softball player,” Free said. “I have seen it in years past and knew the capability she had but to see it from inside the fence was an amazing thing. She’s a heck of a ball player.”

Madison White made an impact all over Edgewood athletics, also becoming a starter on the volleyball and basketball teams. White played some innings in the infield but she spent most of her time as the catcher.

During her final three seasons, White spent 551 innings behind the plate, throwing out 31 opposing baserunners on 66 stolen base attempts. She backed up that success with a .335 batting average.

“She is one of the best female athletes I have ever had the pleasure of being around,” Free said. “The kid can do it all. She’s a tremendous kid and tremendous softball player. She has worked for everything she has gotten. She was just a hard worker and that’s going to carry her a long way, even off the softball field.”

Jessy Morales transferred to Edgewood before her junior year and she immediately made an impact on an already stacked roster. Morales did most of her damage on the base paths, stealing 26 bases in 27 attempts and scoring 53 runs in two seasons.

“She can absolutely fly,” Free said. “She can cover a lot of ground in the outfield and she can do a lot of damage running the bases. It was always good to see her coming up in the lineup. She could do it all and it gave me so many options as a coach.”

Gracie Johnson didn’t have as many plate appearances as her fellow seniors but that did not make her impact any less important. Johnson earned a starting spot at first base as a senior and finished the year with a .325 batting average while knocking in eight runs in 40 at bats.

“She is one of those players that has waited her turn to step on to the field,” Free said. “She did everything you asked her to do as a coach. She played some really good softball for us this season. It was great to see a kid who has patiently waited to experience that kind of success.”

Caleb Turrentine is a sports writer for Tallapoosa Publishers Inc.