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After its run to the Class A Private state championship last year, Mount Paran Christian’s softball team is off to an 11-3 start in 2021.

All roads lead to Columbus for the Mount Paran Christian softball team as it bids to defend its Class A Private state championship.

Last year, the Lady Eagles won their first state title, going 26-4 and ranking among the top 40 teams in the state regardless of classification.

As for 2021, Mount Paran had a 11-3 record going into its non-region game with McEachern on Thursday and was ranked third in Class A Private.

Although this is a familiar journey the team has been on, the path to get where it is this year has not been easy, coach Greg Giles said.

“COVID and weather have impacted our schedule this year, losing 10 games off the schedule to date,” Giles said. “Whereas this time last year, we were getting towards the end of the season. We were peaking, understanding our team better and how we were going to compete. Today, we are getting close to that, but we would like to have more games under our belt as we are starting to close out the season and try to work towards a successful playoff.”

The dynamics of the team shifted after Mount Paran graduated Havalynn Abernathy, who signed with Georgia State. The Lady Eagles still have key members of the 2020 championship team, but they have added some young stars who have risen to the occasion.

“The strength of the team is our pitching staff with Malayana Tamborra, Katie Cunane and Madee Carroll, ‘’ Giles said. “What we are looking for towards the end to compete is to develop our defensive rotation and strengthen our hitting and offensive part of the game.”

The Lady Eagles’ core three pitchers of Tamborra, Cunane and Carroll are 11-1 on the season with a combined 1.13 ERA. Cunane has a 0.64 ERA and is 5-0 in her freshman season, while Tamborra, a junior, has a 1.00 ERA and is 4-1.

With continued improvement, Mount Paran put itself on track to compete for a championship last season. Now, as it continues its success, it is aware that its opponents bring their best game every time.

The Lady Eagles’ approach is not the only thing that had made them unique. They have the mindset that each player is a leader, and they all play a part in lifting one another up to be their best.

“This is a team of leaders,” Giles said. “ We complement each other real well. One or two of the better hitters may have an off day (and) others step up and do well.”

On top of her contributions in the circle, Cunane has been one of Mount Paran’s reliable hitters as well with five home runs, 18 RBIs and a batting average of .415.

With former Kennesaw State outfielder Hannah Thomason serving on Giles’ staff, Mount Paran’s outfield has put up a strong front against opponents this year.

“Championships are won with strong pitching and defense, and we have both of those,” Giles said. “People around us in society don’t care what you did last year. We are a society that cares about what you do now, so we are not going to live in the rear-view mirror. We are not going to pat ourselves on the back. We are going to work to win what we need to win right now. Our goal is to head back to Columbus to defend our title.”

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