E.A. Sports Today

2 teams advance to state

White Plains, Pleasant Valley dispatch teams that beat them earlier in regional to earn spots in the softball state tournament

By East Alabama Sports Today

The White Plains softball team didn’t feel very good about its play in the first game of its North Central Regional on Thursday and was hoping to get another chance at its opening-round opponent.

The Lady Wildcats had to wait until the final game of the Class 4A tournament to get that chance, but they definitely made the most of it when they did

They gained a huge measure of revenge and a trip to the state tournament when they beat Hamilton 5-2 Friday in the losers bracket final in Tuscaloosa. They lost to the Lady Aggies in the opening round 10-8.

They will play South champion Bibb County in their opening game of the state tournament Friday at noon. It will be the Lady Wildcats’ first trip to the finals since 2014.

“After that first game the girls just kept saying they wanted to have another chance at that team,” Ford said. “We knew we could beat them. We knew we played poorly in that game. We were pretty hungry.”

Pleasant Valley also took down a team that beat them earlier in the North Central regional to advance in state tournament for the first time since 2005. The Lady Raiders beat J.B. Pennington 3-2 after losing to it in the second round 3-0.

Along the way they also beat Carbon Hill (5-1) and county rivals Weaver (10-0) and Piedmont (11-0).

They will play South Central champion Gordo in their opening game of the Class 3A state tournament Wednesday at 10:30 a.m.

The Lady Raiders rallied twice in the clinching win, trailing 1-0 and 2-1 going into the seventh. Atleigh Brannon led off the seventh with a single, then Mac Parris and Kara Perry, two hitters who had been struggling at the plate, delivered in a big way. Parris ripped a two-strike pitch over the right fielder’s head for a game-tying triple and Perry drove in the go-ahead run with a line single to left.

“I told the girls you’ve gotta keep believing, you’ve got to keep fighting,” PV coach David Bryant said. “You can’t chop a tree down in one lick, you’ve got to keep swinging the ax. You might not think it’s going to come down, but you keep chopping away. Keep believing, keep chopping.”

Olivia Jones closed out a strong regional in the circle by shutting down the Lady Tigers on three pop-ups in the bottom of the seventh. Jones pitched every inning for PV but the final two in the one-sided win over Piedmont. She gave up two earned run in five games (29 innings).

White Plains showed its desire to make amends in the first inning of its game when it manufactured a run without the benefit of a hit. Isabella Pinto opened the inning with a slap hit to single that Hamilton misplayed into an error. She stole second, then stole third on a fake bunt and scored when the throw went into left field.

They played a little small ball to break a 1-1 tie and take control of the game. They bunted three times in a row, including a squeeze by Aillee Martin to score Presley Whitten, to completely demoralize their opponent.

“We showed a lot of fight at the plate,” Ford said. “We had runners on pretty much the whole game. And defensively we made a lot of good plays behind the pitcher (Ashlyn Hinton).”

After dropping their tournament opener, the Lady Wildcats swept through the bracket by beating Dora (19-2), Hokes Bluff (15-8), Oneonta (9-6) and then Hamilton.

“I love how we’re playing ball right now,” Ford said. “Honestly, our team just loves each other and enjoys behind together. We’ll go down there and take it for what it is, making memories along the way.

“We have five seniors who’ve invested a lot into the program. We were signing on the bus and dancing and trying to enjoy every second. We play our best when we’re having fun. We want to smile a lot. Of course, we want to play the best we possibly can and we play better when we’re loose.

“We’re just going to enjoy it and see how far we can go. If we show the fight I saw after the first game I think we can hang with anybody.”

SOFTBALL REGIONAL PAIRINGS
(regionals involving Calhoun County teams)

NORTH 6A
May 11, 1:30 p.m.
At Huntsville Sportsplex

Athens 15, Austin 3
Cullman 4, Southside-Gadsden 2
Fort Payne 4, Oxford 2
Hazel Green 10, Hartselle 0
Winners Bracket
Athens 4, Cullman 3
Hazel Green 12, Fort Payne 2
Losers Bracket
Austin 8, Southside-Gadsden 0
Oxford 9, Hartselle 2
Friday’s games
Cullman 3, Oxford 0 (Oxford eliminated)
Hazel Green 9, Athens 2 (Hazel Green advances)
Fort Payne 6, Austin 5 (Austin eliminated)
Cullman 5, Fort Payne 0 (Fort Payne eliminated)
Cullman 10, Athens 7 (Cullman advances)

NORTH 5A
May 11, 3 p.m.
At Huntsville Sportsplex

Ardmore 6, Russellville 4
Scottsboro 9, Boaz 2
Alexandria 4, Guntersville 2
Lawrence County 13, Lee-Huntsville 1
Winners Bracket
Scottsboro 7, Ardmore 3
Alexandria 14, Lawrence County 1
Losers Bracket
Boaz 9, Russellville 8 (Russellville eliminated)
Guntersville 14, Lee-Huntsville 0 (Lee eliminated)
Friday’s games
Scottsboro 5, Alexandria 2 (Scottsboro advances)
Ardmore 1, Guntersville 0 (Guntersville eliminated)
Lawrence County 13, Boaz 3 (Boaz eliminated)
Ardmore 8, Lawrence County 3 (Lawrence County eliminated)
Ardmore 8, Alexandria 6 (Ardmore advances)

NORTH CENTRAL 1A
May 12, 1:30 p.m.
At Bowers Park, Tuscaloosa

Addison 2, Coosa Christian 1
Spring Garden 10, Berry 0
Appalachian 5, Marion County 4
South Lamar 16, Faith Christian 1
Winners Bracket
Spring Garden 9, Addison 0
Appalachian 14, South Lamar 4
Losers Bracket
Coosa Christian 8, Berry 3 (Berry eliminated)
Marion County 15, Faith Christian 0 (Faith Christian eliminated)
May 13
Winner’s Bracket
Spring Garden 10, Appalachian 1
Losers Bracket
South Lamar 5, Coosa Christian 3 (Coosa Christian eliminated)
Marion County 17, Addison 7 (Addison eliminated)
Marion County 6, South Lamar 5 (South Lamar eliminated)
Marion County 8, Appalachian 4 (Marion County advances)

NORTH CENTRAL 3A
May 11, 9 a.m.
At Bowers Park, Tuscaloosa

J.B. Pennington 11, Oakman 5
Pleasant Valley 10, Weaver 0
Locust Fork 9, Carbon Hill 0
Piedmont 6, Wellborn 4
Winners Bracket
J.B. Pennington 3, Pleasant Valley 0
Locust Fork 9, Piedmont 5
Losers Bracket
Oakman 10, Weaver 4 (Weaver eliminated)
Carbon Hill 14, Wellborn 1 (Wellborn eliminated)
Piedmont 11, Oakman 5 (Oakman eliminated)
Pleasant Valley 11, Carbon Hill 5 (Carbon Hill eliminated)
Friday’s games
Locust Fork 6, J.B. Pennington 3 (Locust Fork advances)
Pleasant Valley 11, Piedmont 0 (Piedmont eliminated)
Pleasant Valley 3, J.B. Pennington 2 (Pleasant Valley advances)

NORTH CENTRAL 4A
May 11, 10:30 a.m.
At Bowers Park, Tuscaloosa
Hokes Bluff 8, Winfield 5
Cordova 6, Oneonta 1
Hamilton 10, White Plains 8
Leeds 12, Dora 2
Winner’s Bracket
Cordova 15, Hokes Bluff 0
Hamilton 7, Leeds 1
Losers Bracket
Oneonta 12, Winfield 8 (Winfield eliminated)
White Plains 19, Dora 2 (Dora eliminated)
White Plains 15, Hokes Bluff 8 (Hokes Bluff eliminated)
Oneonta 11, Leeds 6
Friday’s games
Cordova 3, Hamilton 0 (Cordova advances)
White Plains 9, Oneonta 6 (Oneonta eliminated)
White Plains 5, Hamilton 2 (White Plains advances)

NORTH CENTRAL 5A
May 11, 3 p.m.
At Bowers Park, Tuscaloosa
Mortimer Jordan 14, West Point 1
Lincoln 16, Wenonah 0
Springville 17, Hayden 9
Cleburne County 16, Pleasant Grove 1
Winners Bracket
Mortimer Jordan 5, Lincoln 4
Springville 12, Cleburne County 0
Losers Bracket
West Point 14, Wenonah 1 (Wenonah eliminated)
Hayden 13, Pleasant Grove 1 (Hayden eliminated)
Friday’s games
Springville 11, Mortimer Jordan 1 (Springville advances)
Hayden 9, Lincoln 3 (Lincoln eliminated)
Cleburne County 5, West Point 0 (West Point eliminated)
Hayden 8, Cleburne County 6, 8 inns. (Cleburne County eliminated)
Hayden vs. Mortimer Jordan

STATE FINALS BRACKETS
CLASS 3A

(Wednesday-Thursday)
First round
Slocumb vs. Plainview, 10:30 a.m.
Locust Fork vs. American Christian, 10:30 a.m.
Pisgah vs. Wicksburg, 10:30 a.m.
Gordo vs. Pleasant Valley, 10:30
Second round
Winners play at 3 p.m.
Losers play at 6 p.m.

CLASS 4A
(Friday-Saturday)
First round

Alabama Christian vs. Wilson, 10:30 a.m.
Cordova vs. Northside, 10:30 a.m.
Westminster Christian vs. Satsuma, noon
Bibb County vs. White Plains, noon
Winners bracket
Alabama Christian-Wilson winner vs. Cordova-Northside winner, 3 p.m.
Westminster Christian-Satsuma winner vs. Bibb County-White Plains winner, 4:30 p.m.
Losers bracket
Alabama Christian-Wilson loser vs. Cordova-Northside loser, 1:30 p.m.
Westminster Christian-Satsuma loser vs. Bibb County-White Plains loser, 4:30 p.m.
Losers bracket continues at 6 and 7:30 p.m.

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