Lauren Shaw has never had this much fun.
Her Auburn University of Montgomery softball team is in the NAIA national championship, and the slugging sophomore catcher is the reason why with two of the biggest hits of her life.
And so there have been a deluge of calls, text messages, posts on Facebook and Twitter and interviews with local media in Columbus as the Lady Warhawks (43-6) get set to play for the program’s first national championship Thursday at 5 p.m. EST.
“It’s unbelievable,” Shaw said. “I know that we’re all so excited. It’s like a dream come true for us.”
Perhaps it’s been fitting the way Shaw has delivered during AUM’s postseason run. The former North Forsyth standout has propelled AUM all season long. In 48 games, she leads the team in batting average (.388), doubles (12), home runs (13), RBIs (56), on-base percentage (.461), slugging percentage (.770) and total bases (107). She is second in runs (37) and hits (54).
Her heroics started Monday against No. 10-ranked William Carey in AUM’s second game of the NAIA Softball World Series. Shaw came to the plate in the third inning. The game was scoreless. She promptly fell behind 0-2 in the count.
Shaw launched the next pitch for a two-run home run in the Lady Warhawks’ eventual 2-1 victory.
“I knew going into that at-bat that we needed to score, and I just wanted to do it for our team,” Shaw said. “We’ve worked so hard to get here, and we knew that we weren’t done yet. We’ve obviously had a great run, so going up there I was just thinking I need to do this for the team, and I’m glad it worked out the way it did.
A day later, Shaw came through again, this time on a 2-1 count against Reinhardt. Same inning, same result – a two-run home run that was all AUM needed in a 2-0 victory. The hit punctuated Shaw’s 3-for-3 day at the plate and secured the Lady Warhawk’s spot in the championship.
All the better to do it against a Reinhardt team from Shaw’s home state who eliminated AUM in last season’s national tournament.
“It was pretty cool us beating Reinhardt,” Shaw said. “Being able to beat them and just being here, just the overall experience has been great. I’ve never had this much fun.”