E.A. Sports Today

Crump is clutch

Crump’s double on Senior Night sends Ohatchee to softball regionals, but first an area title date with Wellborn awaits

Monday’s Area Tournaments

Class 1A Area 10
at Spring Garden
Spring Garden 15, Jacksonville Christian 0
Cedar Bluff 10, Faith Christian 0
Spring Garden 7, Cedar Bluff 3
Jacksonville Christian vs. Faith Christian

Class 3A Area 9
at Ohatchee
Wellborn 8, Weaver 0
Wellborn 9, Ohatchee 2
Ohatchee 4, Weaver 2, 8 inns. (Weaver eliminated)

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

OHATCHEE – Shelby Crump’s Senior Night experience couldn’t have played out any better for her or her Ohatchee softball teammates Monday night.

The Lady Indians’ centerfielder was honored as the team’s only senior before their first game of the Class 3A Area 9 Tournament, and later she delivered the eighth-inning two-run double to beat Weaver 4-2 to stay alive and earn a trip to the regional tournament.

Ohatchee softball coach Kendall Poe. (Photo by B.J. Franklin)

“It was a good experience,” Crump said. “I’m glad I got to be a part of it and let that be my last at bat for the game.

“It couldn’t have gone any better. We’ve always been known as the comeback kids and we did it. It could’ve gone bad, but it definitely went the way it needed to. I’m glad my teammates never gave up on me or gave up on the game because they knew how bad I wanted it. I owe a lot to my teammates for pushing themselves as hard as I know they could.”

Ohatchee (23-19) now will play Wellborn for the area championship Tuesday at 5 p.m. here at Whitney Laine Gallahar Field. The Lady Panthers blanked Weaver 8-0 and then topped Ohatchee 9-2 to qualify for the regionals for the sixth time in nine years.

Wellborn only has to win one game Tuesday to repeat as area champions; Ohatchee must win twice.

“This is big for us,” Lady Indians coach Kendall Poe said. “Last year this same team put us out in this same game. I think it’s big we responded right there and we’re going in to tomorrow with our confidence back up because they fought, didn’t give up. I think it’s big because we got put out last year.”

Ohatchee led the game from the first inning, but Weaver tied it in the seventh. Lexie Callahan started the rally with a leadoff double and scored the tying run on Rayne Beck’s infield out. The Lady Bearcats had the winning run at third with two outs, but couldn’t bring it home.

Sydney Clements got Ohatchee’s go-ahead rally started when she reached on a one-out error. Gracee Haynes put two runners in scoring position with a two-out double, and then Crump, the No. 9 in the lineup, followed with her game-breaking double to center.

“I always have in my head that I want the last play,” Crump said. “I want to get the last out I always want the ball, I know that. I wan to make th last play I want to be up to bat when there stwo outs bases loaded stuff like that. I want the pressure on me.”

Clements retired the side in order in the bottom of the eighth to preserve the victory.

The Lady Indians were scheduled to have Senior Night last week, but ceremonies (and games) were canceled twice because of the weather and the first chance they had to make it happen was Monday.

“We kind of had to change our plans a little bit and I think it worked out pretty well since we are going to a regional and play for the area championship,” Ohatchee coach Kendall Poe said. “I don’t think there could have been a more picture-perfect story set up for that.

“Good leader. Good senior. Stepped up. Been stepping up a lot the last couple weeks for us.”

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