By Doug Gorman
The 2010 softball season will best be remembered for the end of one era and the beginning of another.
After four-straight Class A softball titles, ELCA didn't even make it back to Columbus and the Elite 8 this year, losing in a play-in game before the state tournament officially began.
While ELCA was no longer one of the top teams in the state, two things happened in the Southern Crescent that changed the softball landscape.
Sophomore pitcher Megan Betsa, who led ELCA to its last state title, transferred to Union Grove and helped turn the Lady Wolverines into a Class AAAA powerhouse. For that effort, she has been named the Clayton News Daily and Henry Daily Herald Player/Pitcher of the Year.
It's the second year in a row she has been so honored, albeit at different schools.
Meanwhile, while ELCA was struggling by its standards this season, Strong Rock Christian School was enjoying success in its first season in the GHSA.
Head coach Eddie Wise kept his team in the Gasports.com Class A coaches' poll most of the season and earned the paper's Coach of the Year honors.
For Betsa, changing schools didn't matter.
She often dominated opposing batters in the pitching circle for Union Grove.
She finished the year with an eye-popping 397 strikeouts and an impressive 0.77 ERA.
At one point this year, she helped her team to a No. 1-ranking the Class AAAA poll.
They finished the year with a 32-11 record and a No. 3-ranking.
The Lady Wolverines returned to Columbus and finished third at the state after losing to Greenbrier twice, but also got two wins against Madison County and one against Creekview.
Little was known about Strong Rock heading into the 2010 season.
The first-year GHSA program beat ELCA twice this year and spent most of the season ranked in the Class A poll to put an end to some of the mystery.
The Lady Patriots finished the year 21-13 and ranked 10th in the Class A poll. Strong Rock picked up its first win ever in the Elite 8, beating Savvananh Christian under Wise's watch before losing their next two games to end their first year in GHSA.