E.A. Sports Today

Lady Tigers take title

MVP Parker pitches, hits Cleburne County to area title that eluded it a year ago; Alexandria uses long ball for its title

Thursday’s scores
Class 4A Area 11

Saks 10, Jacksonville 5
White Plains 19, Saks 1
Cleburne County 13, White Plains 1 (championship)

Class 5A Area 12
Lincoln 10, St. Clair County 5
Lincoln 4, Alexandria 1
Alexandria 12, Lincoln 0 (championship)

Class 3A Area 12
Pleasant Valley 4, Piedmont 1
Wellborn 3, Weaver 2
Piedmont 3, Wellborn 2
Friday’s Game
Piedmont vs. Pleasant Valley, 5:30 p.m.

Class 6A Area 10
Chelsea 6, Pell City 3
Oxford 11, Chelsea 0 (championship)

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

HEFLIN – Amber Parker says the Cleburne County softball team doesn’t really look in the past, but she admitted it “felt really good” to do this year what it couldn’t get done a year ago.

Parker pitched a one-hitter, delivered four RBIs at the plate and was named most valuable player as the Lady Tigers routed White Plains 13-1 to claim the area tournament championship that got away from them last year.

“That was one of the goals they had — to win the area championship — so that feels good to do that,” Lady Tigers coach Ron Ervin said. “They’ve got blocks, steps, they wanted to reach and one of them was the area championship and they achieved that tonight.

“I was just proud how hard we played. As far as effort and the kids playing hard, this is one of the best seasons I think we’ve had in a long time. You saw it, there was a fly ball there was five kids sprinting to it; that’s what I, proud of.

“We always talk about worrying about what we can control. We can control our effort. How hard you play, that determines whether you win or lose, it’s not the scoreboard. Usually if you give a ton of effort the scoreboard will reflect it anyway.”

Parker was going to be the starter in this one all along because she shut out White Plains in their first tournament meeting and the Lady Wildcats had seen ace Kiara Akles twice already.

But she wasn’t sharp early. She gave up her only hit – a single by Isabella Pinto between short and third — in the first, then hit a batter and walked two in a row to force home the tying run. But she struck out the next two hitters to end the inning and didn’t give up another hit. White Plains had three more base runners, but none got past first base.

“My adrenaline was going and my team had to calm me,” Parker said. “I can’t let my team down; that’s what I was thinking the whole entire time. I know if I walk people, most likely we were not going to win, so I knew I had to pick my game up.”

Cleburne County broke a 1-1 tie with three in the third inning and broke it open with six in the fourth. The Lady Tigers scored the go-ahead run Chelsea Parker’s infield grounder and added Amber Parker’s two-run single.

The Lady Tigers sent 12 batters to the plate in the fourth. Parker and Skyla Shierling both had two-run singles in the inning. Madison Jones had a two-run double and Kiara Akles an RBI single in the fifth. Akles got it all started with a homer in the first.

“We gave them some outs in some key spots in the game, but even if we make those outs, they hit the ball very hard,” White Plains coach Rachel Ford said. “They’re always a tough team to play, so I expect them to do well in the playoffs.”

Both teams are advance to the regionals in Tuscaloosa. White Plains made it to the championship game with a 19-1 rout of Saks; Lauren Dodson homered twice.

Class 5A, Area 12

LINCOLN — Madison Snow, Jessica Shaw and Caitlyn Howell all hit multi-run homers and combined for 10 RBIs to power Alexandria past Lincoln 12-0 in the do-or-die championship game for the area tournament title.

After the Lady Cubs lost the first championship game 4-1, Snow got them off to a rousing start with a three-run homer in the first inning. Shaw hit a three-run shot to cap a five-run fifth and Howell hit a two-run blast in the sixth.

Lauren O’Dell scattered three hits and struck out eight to get the win. The Lady Bears put three runners in scoring position against her, but failed to bring them home.

Lincoln used a four-run third inning to power its win. Savannah Sands led off the inning with a game-tying homer and Cameron Beasley later delivered a two-run double.

Rayanna Powell, who shut down the Lady Cubs in the final four innings Tuesday night, held them again on four hits. She struck out seven.

Both teams are advancing to the regionals in Tuscaloosa.

On the cover: Amber Parker displays her all-tournament and MVP awards after pitching and hitting Cleburne County to the Class 4A Area 11 tournament title.

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