E.A. Sports Today

Work paying off for Wildcats

White Plains goes deep into the night to win its own softball tournament

White Plains catcher Carley Wood made two big defensive plays in the championship game. (All photos by Brant Locklier)

White Plains catcher Carley Wood made two big defensive plays in the championship game. (All photos by Brant Locklier)

By Brant Locklier
For East Alabama Sports Today

OXFORD — It took all day and as the clock struck midnight the White Plains Wildcats slammed the door on 6A power Wetumpka 5-1 and captured its own tournament championship Saturday at Oxford Lake.

It was an overpowering performance for the Wildcats as they flexed their muscles to outscore five opponents 48-2.

The Wildcats used dominating pitching from Anna Snider and Amber Greenwood to romp to the title. Both twirled shutouts as the Wildcats beat Ashville 16-0, Sardis 8-1, Pleasant Valley 10-0, Ider 10-0 and Wetumpka 5-1.

They were just as dominating at the plate. At one point over the last two innings of the semifinal game and the first two innings of the final game they had 26 consecutive quality at bats.

There were 14 hits, 6 walks, a sacrifice bunt and three ground outs in those 26 at bats that blew open both games.

“We have improved in that area,” coach Rachel Ford said. “We had not been doing very well at that, but we are gaining confidence. We just emphasize having a quality at-bat and just getting the bat on the ball and we are doing better.”

In the championship game catcher Carley Wood gunned down a Wetumpka runner trying to steal second and then blocked the plate to stop another run from scoring on a throw by Wildcat second baseman Ashlyn Hinton.

The two plays kept Wetumpka from tying the game and helped bail starter Snider out of a huge jam in the first inning against a team that has five college signees.

“Carley has done a great job for us,” Ford said. “This is her first year behind the plate catching for us and she is going to be really good for us before she is done.”

The infield of Underwood, Shelby Wood, Hinton and Lauren Dodson were there to make all the plays and completely shut down the opponents.

“We really emphasize defense in practice,” Ford said. “They understand that I am a defensive-minded coach and if the other team does not score, we have a pretty good chance of winning. We work on fundamentals and doing the little things right and it is really paying off.”

Pleasant Valley Splits 4 Games

Pleasant Valley's Alisa St. John fashioned a shutout against Ider.

Pleasant Valley’s Alisa St. John fashioned a shutout against Ider.

The Raiders do not back down from anybody and they took on some bigger schools here and came away with a couple of hard-fought wins over some 4A teams.

The Raiders opened with 5A Handley and got a great pitching performance from freshman Alisa St. John but lost 2-1 when a last-inning rally was cut short after the home plate umpire lost track of the count. He missed what would have been a one-out walk that turned into the second out and the Raiders ended the game with two runners on base.

Atleigh Brannon had singled in the first inning and scored on Anna Bryant’s double for the lone Raider run.

The Raiders then stunned Ider 3-0 on a shut out by St. John. McKinley Parris brought home two runs on a line single and scored herself on a triple by Savannah Williams. Ider would go on to make it to the semi-finals of the tournament.

The Raiders then met county rival Jacksonville and sent 13 batters to the plate in the first inning and went on to a 15-1 win. Jacksonville went 0-3 in the tournament.

White Plains was next and Wildcat Anna Snider broke open the game early with a second-inning grand slam. The Wildcats went on to a 10-0 victory. — Brant Locklier

Piedmont loses heartbreakers

When you go to a Piedmont softball game better make sure you take a lot of medication. They split four straight one-run, gut-wrenching, jaw-dropping games.

The Bulldogs drew 7A Smiths Station in their opener and held a 3-0 lead late only to see the Panthers get three runs after two outs in the last inning and win the game 5-3 on a two-run single off the glove of diving Bulldog shortstop Torre Roberts.

They drew 5A powerhouse Moody next and this time rallied for three late runs to tie before winning it 5-4 in extra innings when Rachel Baggett scored on a wild pitch.

They jumped out to a 7-1 lead on Ashville in Game Three and on to win 7-6.

Wetumpka was next up and the Bulldogs took a 2-0 lead into the bottom half of the last inning only to see the 6A Indians tie it with a two-out, two-run single and then win it 3-2 with a two-out run in extra innings.

The Bulldogs continued to get great pitching from Kendall Presley and Kayleigh Williams. Presley hit a home run and Williams and Roberts had key hits all day. — Brant Locklier

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