E.A. Sports Today

Spain Park stings Oxford

Lady Jags’ eighth-grade pitcher shuts down Oxford with a no-hitter in Spring Sting championship game

Spain Park’s Annabelle Widra struck out eight batters her first time through the Oxford lineup in her no-hitter. (Photos by B.J. Franklin/GungHo Photos)

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

OXFORD — The Oxford softball team got an up-close look at one of the best high school teams in the country Saturday night and the Lady Jackets got an eyeful.

Playing in the finals of Oxford’s Spring Sting tournament, Spain Park eighth-grader Annabelle Widra threw her second no-hitter of the season, blanking the Yellow Jackets 3-0 on the Signature Field at Choccolocco Park.

The undefeated Lady Jags (21-0) are ranked No. 1 in the state Class 7A and fifth in the latest MaxPreps national softball poll. The Lady Jackets (18-3) are No. 2 in Class 6A.

The only thing that stood between Widra (16-0) and a perfect game was a five-pitch leadoff walk in the fifth to Oxford cleanup hitter Bailey Clark, whom Lady Jags coach C.J. Hawkins said “we did not want to pitch to.”

Widra struck out eight of the first nine Lady Jackets she faced and nine total. She also threw three innings of no-hit relief finishing up the Lady Jags’ 7-2 semifinal win over Cleburne County earlier in the day. She gave up only one hit in 15 tournament innings this weekend, a two-out double in the first inning of her first game.

“She’s special,” Hawkins said. “She’s very competitive and she’s got a lot of drive and physical ability. She’s a freak of nature. She’s a special, special player.”

Jenna Olszewski provided all the Spain Park offense in the title game with two homers. She hit a two-run bomb in the first inning after a walk to M.K. Tedder and a solo shot leading off the sixth. “Jenna’s money, too,” Hawkins said.

The Lady Jackets almost got out of the first unscathed. Rylee Waldrep got the first two outs and had Texas commitment Tedder down 0-2 before losing her on four outside balls. Olszewski followed with her homer to left field.

Waldrep didn’t give up anything else until the sixth. The Lady Jackets, meanwhile, started getting the bat on the ball their second time seeing Widra, but couldn’t get anything to fall.

“At 0-2 you don’t want to throw them anything they can hit,” Oxford coach Wendy McKibbin said. “That’s a disciplined hitter. Good hitters do that. Usually walks can come back and bite you 99 percent of the time.”

The Lady Jackets reached the finals by beating Pleasant Valley 8-7, North Jackson 8-0 and Hewitt-Trussville 5-1 in the semifinals.

Lyner and Clark both hit three-run homers in the first against Pleasant Valley, but the Lady Jackets had to hold off a furious PV rally in the fourth inning that ended with the winning run in scoring position. Clark homered again in the North Jackson game and Waldrep pitched a two-hit shutout with 11 strikeouts.

In the semifinals, Lyner went 3-for-3 with a homer and two RBIs and Clark went 2-for-2 with an RBI double. JoJo Skinner gave up two hits in the four-inning game.

“I thought we had a good weekend,” McKibbin said. “We didn’t play well last night against Cleburne County (a 4-0 loss) and we adjusted and came back today.

“We’ve been off for 10 days and when you don’t play and see live pitching it gets you out of rhythm, but I’m proud of the way we came out and hit today.”

Hawkins was really impressed with the Choccolocco Park facility, and she wasn’t just being a gracious winner. She advocates playing the state tournament there.

“This facility is spectacular,” she said. “You can break the news that we should be having the state tournament at a site like this instead of at Lagoon Park. Wendy and I are both very adamant about getting change, putting it in a college stadium, putting it in a stadium as gorgeous as this. The girls deserve to be treated with this kind of respect.”

Oxford’s Bailey Clark makes contact but fouls one off against Spain Park’s Annabelle Widra. Clark had several extra-base hits in the Lady Jackets’ run-up to the championship game.

Spain Park 3, Oxford 0
Spain Park 200 001 — 3 7 0
Oxford 000 000 — 0 0 0

WP: Annabelle Widra. LP: Rylee Waldrep. 2B: Jenna Olszewski (SP). HR: Jenna Olszewski (SP) 2.

Oxford 5, Hewitt-Trussville 1
Oxford 112 1 — 5 8 2
H-Trussville 001 0 — 1 2 1

WP: JoJo Skinner. LP: Hayden Newgent. 2B: Haley Lyner (O), Bailey Clark (O). 3B: Kaylynn Garrett (O). HR: Haley Lyner (O).

Oxford 8, North Jackson 0
Oxford 200 33 — 8 11 3
N. Jackson 000 00 — 0 2 0

WP: Rylee Waldrep. LP: J. Thompson. 2B: Sarah Howell (O), Amber Dempsey (O) 2. HR: Bailey Clark (O).

Oxford 8, Pleasant Valley 7
Oxford 700 1 — 8 5 8
Pleasant Val. 002 5 — 7 7 0

WP: JoJo Skinner. LP: Olivia Jones. 2B: Ashlyn Miller (O), Amber Dempsey (O), Alisa St. John (PV). HR: Haley Lyner (O), Bailey Clark (O).

Cleburne County 4, Moody 3
Moody 100 110 — 3 9 1
Cleburne Co. 100 021 — 4 10 1

WP: Amber Parker. LP: Silf. 2B: Richardson (M), Cone (M), Skylar Shierling (CC). HR: Richardson (M).

Spain Park 7, Cleburne County 2
Spain Park 101 32 — 7 11 0
Cleburne Co. 011 00 — 2 3 0

WP: Rogers. LP: Kiara Akles. 2B: M.K. Tedder (SP), Caroline Parker (SP), Maddie Majors (SP), Amber Parker (CC). 3B: Julianna Cross (SP), Caroline Parker (SP).

Oxford’s Haley Lyner gets full extension on her home run against Hewitt-Trussville in the Lady Jackets’ semifinals victory.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login