E.A. Sports Today

Lady Cubs in finals

Alexandria earns spot in Calhoun County Softball Tournament final, awaits elimination bracket; Rolfe likely in circle for her county tourney swan song

Eighth-grader Emmah Rolfe has been brilliant in her two seasons with the Alexandria softball team. She will be making her final Calhoun County Tournament appearance in Friday’s championship game. (Photos by B.J. Franklin)

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

OXFORD — Emmah Rolfe is hoping for something special to happen when Alexandria plays in the Calhoun County Softball Tournament finals Friday night at Choccolocco Park. Lady Cubs coach Brian Hess is, too.

The top-seeded and top-ranked Lady Cubs secured a spot in the title game Thursday night with an intense 4-3 victory over Oxford and a 5-0 shutout of White Plains.

They await either Oxford, White Plains or Pleasant Valley in the 7:30 p.m. final on the Signature Field at Choccolocco Park. Oxford and Pleasant Valley play at 4:30 with the winner playing White Plains at 6.

The Lady Cubs are expected to send the hard-throwing eighth-grader Rolfe into the circle for what they hope will be the clincher. She will be playing in her final Calhoun County Tournament after confirming to East Alabama Sports Today her move to Bob Jones at the end of the school year due to her father Tim’s job transfer to Redstone Arsenal.

“I feel like I’m a senior and I’ve got to go out there and try my hardest,” Rolfe said. “I think this will be really, really special to us if we win it. It’s a pretty big deal.”

She certainly has been special for the Lady Cubs in her two seasons with the program and was brilliant once again against Oxford. She threw six innings, gave up six hits, one earned run and struck out seven. She threw 78 pitches, 66 for strikes, and her next to last pitch was as hard as any she threw all game. She got a groundout and two strikeouts in the sixth inning when the Lady Cubs had to hold on with a one-run lead.

Her impending departure didn’t catch anyone in the Lady Cubs’ program by surprise. It had been anticipated for about two months, but that didn’t make the news any harder to take when it finally became official.

“I was really, really upset about it; I had a hard time with it,” the young Auburn commitment admitted. “I couldn’t even tell a person I was moving. I had to text them, because I would just break down and cry if I did.”

“It’s tough to lose her, the pitcher she is, but we’re losing a great kid, too,” Hess said. “We’re sad about it, but we wish her well, too. Hopefully she’ll be focused and finish out the season like I know she’s capable of doing. We’re going to use the mess out of her while we’ve got her.”

Maddie Wade led Alexandria at the plate in the first game, going 3-for-3 with two doubles. It was her RBI double in the fourth that gave the Lady Cubs a 4-2 lead.

That sent them into the winner’s bracket final against White Plains, where Maggie Phillips pitched a two-hit shutout and struck out nine. The two singles by Graci Surrett were the only White Plains base runners she allowed.

Phillips also had an RBI double, but Allison Bonds was the Lady Cubs’ big hitter in the game. She went 2-for-3 with three RBIs.

Hess is still waiting for the day the Lady Cubs really break out.

“We haven’t played our best,” he said. “We’re playing well, but we haven’t played a complete game in about two weeks. We’re making plays right now, but offensively we’re not hitting like we can. It’s a positive that we’re playing like we are and still get by with the offensive like it is. At some point in time I’m hoping the offense wakes up.”

To see a photo gallery from Thursday’s tournament games visit www.bjfranklin.smugmug.com

CALHOUN COUNTY TOURNAMENT

THURSDAY’S GAMES
Winner’s bracket

White Plains 2, Pleasant Valley 0
Alexandria 4, Oxford 3
Alexandria 5, White Plains 0
Loser’s bracket
Ohatchee 8, JCA 1
Weaver 5, Saks 1
Piedmont 3, Wellborn 1
Jacksonville 17, Faith Christian 3
Weaver 8, Ohatchee 7
Piedmont 11, Jacksonville 8
Oxford 7, Weaver 1
Pleasant Valley 11, Piedmont 1

FRIDAY’S GAMES
Choccolocco Park, Signature Field
Oxford vs. Pleasant Valley, 4:30 p.m.
Oxford-PV winner vs. White Plains, 6 p.m.
Championship game vs. Alexandria, 7:30 p.m.
Championship ‘if’ game vs. Alexandria, 9 p.m.

Here’s a close play at third in the White Plains-Pleasant Valley game. (Photo by B.J. Franklin)

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