E.A. Sports Today

Secret at the Centre

Cherokee County continues to roll, wins 25th game with 5-0 victory over Weaver, now 18 wins better than last season

Cherokee County’s Kendal Perry is one of seven Warriors hitting .400 or better this season. She is hitting an eye-popping .563. On the cover, catcher Jensen Alexander shares a moment with first-year head coach Drew Hall. (Photos by Shannon Fagan)

Cherokee County 5, Weaver 0
Cleburne Co. 6, Piedmont 5
Ohatchee 5, Ragland 2
Oxford 5, Alexandria 4
White Plains 20, Jacksonville 4

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

WEAVER – The girls on the Cherokee County softball team have a big secret and it’s one they don’t plan to give up until the season is over. Don’t ask them to spill the beans. Not even their parents know it.

The closest thing to a hint they’ll allow is it has something to do with their team motto for the season. Whatever it is, it secretly has spurred one of the loudest turnarounds on the state high school softball scene this year.

The Warriors continued their roll Thursday with a 5-0 shutout of Weaver. It was their fifth win in a row and 25th of the season.

What makes it so amazing is the program won only 21 games in the three previous seasons combined and only two as recently as 2015.

“It’s a really cool story for them, just to know where they’ve been to where they are now,” said Drew Hall, the team’s fifth head coach in the last six years.

Where they are is an eye-popping 18 wins ahead of their season total of a year ago, ranked for the first time in years and on pace to win 30 games before they host the Class 4A Area 12 on May 1.

“It’s been so much fun,” senior catcher Jensen Alexander said. “We have this mindset that we’re coming back, we’re not letting people tell us we’re going to be the same team.

“It’s something we’ve had to hold onto the past three years and we finally got tired of being that team. We’ve heard all this stuff and we wanted to do something different and do something better. That’s why we’ve got this secret and we’re all together with it.”

Alexander is one of five Centre seniors who have had to endure the past three seasons, and all five are flourishing. Alexander is hitting .415 with six homers and 30 RBIs. The other seniors are third baseman Emily Williams (.432, 12 RBIs) and outfielders Kendal Perry (.563, 37 runs, 18 RBIs), Callie Garrett (.321) and Erica Ellzey (.516, 4 HRs, 38 RBIs).

“We just said forget about everything everyone has said, basically let it go in one ear and out the other and focus,” Perry said.

Perry and Williams each had two hits against Weaver, while Ellzey had a pair of RBIs. Ellzey drove in the first run of the game. Perry doubled home the first run of a game-breaking three-run fifth after fouling off seven consecutive pitches.

Alana Loyd, a freshman, pitched a five-hit shutout with 10 strikeouts. She faced down a threat in the sixth inning when the Lady Bearcats put runners at second and third with one out but got out of it with a strikeout and a pop to the infield.

Cleburne County 6, Piedmont 5: Jayci Boozer’s bases-loaded two-out double to right in the bottom of the seventh cleared the bases and gave the Lady Tigers (21-19-2) a walk-off win after trailing 5-0 in the fifth. Cleburne County pounded 17 hits in the game, Tatiana Ervin went 3-for-3, Madison Higgins homered and Kaylee Shierling, Higgins, Chelsea Parker, Rylee Hiett and Madison East had two hits each.

Ohatchee 5, Ragland 2: Regan Snow’s two-run double broke a 2-2 tie and highlighted a four-run seventh that carried the Lady Indians to victory. Ohatchee (12-11) trailed 2-1 going into the inning. Kylee Barnes singled home the tying run and winning pitcher Sydney Clements doubled home an insurance run behind Snow.

White Plains 20, Jacksonville 4: Hannah Fortenberry went 3-for-3 with five RBIs and two other players went 3-for-3 as the Lady Wildcats solidified their No. 2 position in Class 4A Area 12. Isabella Pinto and Katy Roszell both went 3-for-3 as well. Pinto drove in two runs and Roszell drove in three.

Oxford 5, Alexandria 4: A Miller scored on a passed ball with one out in the eighth inning to complete a dramatic comeback that led the Lady Jackets to their first win over the Lady Cubs in four games over the last seven days.

The Lady Jackets tied the game with three runs in the bottom of the seventh. Crestavia Curry got the game-tying hit on a two-out single following a run-scoring passed ball.

Sarah Howell went 3-for-4 and MaKayla Kidd 2-for-3 for Oxford. Emmah Rolfe and Allison Bonds both homered for Alexandria.

The Lady Cubs beat Oxford three times since April 12 – twice in the Calhoun County Tournament, including the championship game, and again Tuesday night.

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