Franklin’s Childress shines at Bridgewater

Published 10:10 am Thursday, June 4, 2009

A former Franklin High School softball player helped her college team to a 36-11 record this year and a run in the NCAA Division III tournament.

Lauren Childress, who played shortstop for Franklin, started 44 games at third base for Bridgewater College this spring.

In May, Bridgewater College’s softball team reached the NCAA tournament for only the second time in the program’s history. The Lady Eagles eventually came up one run short, losing to Salisbury University 2-1.

In the top of the second the Seagulls took advantage of an outfield error by the Eagles to take the lead. Kelly Waskewicz drove in both Salisbury runs with a two-out single, making the score 2-0.

The Eagles got one run back in the bottom of the inning. Caity Butler walked with one out and moved to third on a single by Childress. With two outs, Drew Rutledge’s grounder to short was misplayed, allowing Butler to score BC’s only run.

Childress, the daughter of Richard and Pam Childress, said Bridgewater finished third in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) and received the NCAA regional bid.

“Lynchburg College was number one in the region and we put them out of the regionals,” Childress said. “They are our big rivals and we played them five times this year. We beat them three times. That was the most interesting part of the regional tournament.

“We were actually more relaxed (during the playoffs). We had a positive outlook. The team really came together. We had an awesome end of the year,” Childress added.

As a sophomore, Childress, a family and consumer science major, had an outstanding season at the plate. In 135 at bats, she knocked out 48 hits for a .356 batting average and led the team in triples. All her numbers were an improvement over her freshman year.

“I definitely put more effort into practice. I had extra hitting, running, and everything,” Childress said. “I hit sixth in the lineup. I like the sixth spot. I guess people expect the three, four, and five hitters to be better, but we were all equally good first through ninth.”