Usually, when the Auburn University of Montgomery softball team rides the bus back home from an away game, there’s nothing but the silence of 19 players and four coaches sleeping.
Not last Thursday.
That night, after the Lady Warhawks defeated conference rival William Carey, 10-6, in the NAIA national title game, Lauren Shaw and her teammates spent the ride back from Columbus to Montgomery singing. They didn’t get home until 2 a.m., on Saturday.
"Coach was even messing around," Shaw said. "It was so much fun."
The former North Forsyth standout helped AUM softball make history by winning the program’s first national championship. A sophomore catcher, Shaw put up All-American numbers at the plate. She led the team in hitting (.382), home runs (13) and runs batted in (58) to earn Second-Team honors.
Shaw was also a big reason why the Lady Warhawks reached the national title game in the first place. It started last Monday with a two-run home run in AUM’s eventual 2-1 victory over William Carey. The next day, she hit another two-run home run against Reinhardt in a 2-0 win to reach the title game.
There, they met William Carey again and had two chances to get one win to clinch a national championship. And so AUM promptly lost, 7-4.
Shaw said the Lady Warhawks might have buckled from nerves. AUM committed five errors, and even the outs seemed to be stressful.
"We came out and we were really jumpy," Shaw said. "We were making outs, but they weren’t clean outs. We were having some wild throws. Our first baseman had to jump a lot.
"So the second game came around and we kind of got our nerves out in that first game. We calmed down and got the win."
When AUM got the final out, players flooded the field in exultation.
"It was insane," Shaw said. "It was something that I’ve always dreamed of.
"I’m so happy it finally came true."