E.A. Sports Today

County softball

Defending champion Piedmont, drawing extra motivation from No. 3 seed, dives face first into victory over Pleasant Valley. White Plains, Oxford, Alexandria also in winners’ bracket semis.

Piedmont’s Savannah Smith slides head first into third base with a triple that set up the game-winning run as the Bulldogs advanced 3-2 against Pleasant Valley on Monday at Choccolocco Park. (Photo by Joe Medley)

At Choccolocco Park
MONDAY, April 1

No. 7 Jacksonville 15, No. 10 Anniston 2
No. 6 Pleasant Valley 7, No. 11 Saks 0
No. 4 Ohatchee 17, No. 13 Faith Christian 0
No. 5 Oxford 7, No. 12 Jacksonville Christian 0
No. 8 Weaver 9, No. 9 Wellborn 0
No. 2 White Plains 6, Jacksonville 0
No. 3 Piedmont 3, Pleasant Valley 2
Oxford 9, Ohatchee 1
No. 1 Alexandria 7, Weaver 0
Elimination bracket
JCA 2, Faith 2
Winners’ bracket

White Plains vs. Piedmont, noon
Oxford vs. Alexandria, noon
Elimination bracket
Jacksonville vs. JCA, 10 a.m.
Wellborn vs. Pleasant Valley, 10 a.m.
Anniston vs. Ohatchee, 10 a.m.
Saks vs. Weaver, 10 a.m.
Jacksonville/JCA vs. Wellborn/PV, noon
Anniston/Ohatchee vs. Saks/Weaver, noon
Winners’ bracket final, 3 p.m.
Elimination bracket games, 3 p.m., 5 p.m., 7 p.m.
FRIDAY, April 5
Championship, 6 p.m.
If necessary, 8 p.m.

By Joe Medley
East Alabama Sports Today

OXFORD — Before Monday, Piedmont’s last memory in the Calhoun County softball tournament involved Savannah Smith “Gronk” spiking the ball in front of the pitching circle in celebration.

So imagine how it settled on the Bulldogs when the defending champions drew the No. 3 seed for this year’s tournament.

“It really meant that we needed to win this, just for us,” senior Jaycee Glover said. “We’re really prideful. Like, that’s something about us, that we’re just so prideful, and I think that just made us want it even more.”

Piedmont got off to a good stat Monday, beating No. 6 Pleasant Valley 3-2 to advance to Tuesday’s winners’ bracket semifinal against No.2 White Plains.

No. 5 Oxford will play top seed Alexandria.

No. 4 Ohatchee, No. 7 Jacksonville, No. 8 Weaver, No. 9 Wellborn, No. 10 Anniston, No. 11 Saks and No. 12 Jacksonville Christian remain a live in the elimination bracket.

Forecasts of rain later in the day forced organizers to move Tuesday’s games up to 10 a.m. and noon. By the end of the day, the tournament will be down to the winners’ bracket finalists and four survivors in the elimination bracket.

Piedmont, which beat White Plains in last year’s finals, carries extra motivation.

“I think they took it as a challenge,” Piedmont coach Rachel Smith said. “We all felt like we had a good record. We haven’t played the top seed … but they took it as a challenge that our record should speak for itself.

“We are the reigning champion until somebody beats us.”

How badly does Piedmont want it? Well, Savannah Smith “Gronked” her face in the dirt to complete a triple, that’s how badly. The ground shoved her face mask back into her face and left her with a headache, say nothing of a scratch on her nose.

“Prom is in a couple of weeks,” she said. “I’m hoping it’ll go away.”

What wasn’t clear is whether she ran through her mom’s stop sign or if Savannah Smith even saw the stop sign.

“I just saw, by the time I was running at second, the ball was still in the outfield,” Savannah Smith said. “I knew we needed that run to score.

“I was running as hard as I could. I don’t think I’ve ever run that fast in my life. I was getting there.”

After a timeout to shake off the aftermath, courtesy runner Kaelyn Green scored what stood up as the winning run on Cacey Brothers’ bunt to the first-base side.

“They’re very scrappy, so that’s a very good win for us,” Rachel Smith said. “Their pitchers hit their locations well. That’s a great win for us, because they execute well at the plate.”

Alexandria’s Pressley Slaton deals against Weaver during Monday’s action in the Calhoun County softball tournament. (Photo by Joe Medley)

Winners’ bracket

NO. 1 ALEXANDRIA: Pressley Slaton allowed no hits and one walk with 12 strikeouts in a 7-0 victory over Weaver, which beat Wellborn 9-0 earlier Monday.

Reece Carr finished the job, striking out three batters and allowing one hit in two innings of relief.

Slaton also had a double while going 2-for-3 with one run and one RBI.

Allyssa Hunt led the way at the plate, going 2-for-2 with a triple, a run and three RBIs. Charlee Parris tripled with an RBI and a run.

White Plains’ Carli Fritts pitched against Jacksonville during Monday’s action in the Calhoun County tournament at Choccolocco Park. (Photo by Joe Medley)

NO. 2 WHITE PLAINS: Cari Fritts pitched a two-hitter with 12 strikeouts through five innings as the Wildcats beat Jacksonville, which opened with a 15-2 victory over Anniston. She issued no walks and went 2-for-3 with an RBI.

Callie Richardson delivered a home run and a double with four RBIs, and Halie Smith had an RBI.

Oxford’s Madison Murphy makes contact against Ohatchee during Monday’s action in the Calhoun County tournament at Choccolocco Park. (Photo by Joe Medley)

NO 5 OXFORD: Berkley Mooney struck out 11 batters and allowed four hits over four innings as the Yellow Jackets beat No.4 Ohatchee 9-1, which beat No. 13 Faith Christian 17-0 earlier Monday. 

Mooney also went 2-for-3 with a double and two RBIs.

Kaelyn Crossley swung the biggest stick, with a triple, a double, a run and three RBIs. Adajiah Wilson went 3-for-3 with a triple, a double, two runs and an RBI.

Emma Tims-Becerra had a double, a run and an RBI, and Reagan Sanders had a single and an RBI.

Oxford also beat JCA 7-0 earlier Monday on the strength of Crossley’s one-hitter with 12 strikeouts. She also had a double, a run and an RBI.

Ashlyn Burns cleared loaded bases with an inside-the-park home run, and Mooney had two triples, a run and an RBI.

Elimination bracket

NO. 4 OHATCHEE: Jordyn Faulkner went 2-for-2 with a run and five RBIs, and Skylar Haynes went 2-for-2 with a triple, two runs and three RBIs as Ohatchee sent Faith to the elimination bracket, 17-0.

Breanna Martin had a double, a run and two RBIs, and Savannah Reaves had a double and two RBIs.

Makayla Bracket pitched a one-hitter, striking out eight batters over three innings.

NO. 6 PLEASANT VALLEY: Lily Henry and Haylie Lee pitched a combined no-hitter to send Saks to the elimination bracket, 7-0. Henry got the win with eight strikeouts in three innings, and Lee pitched two perfect innings of relief.

The Raiders got an RBI apiece from Alexa Cranmer, Aubrey Cromer, Henry, Jordan Cheatwood, Elise Wheeler and Cailey Almaroad.

NO. 7 JACKSONVILLE: Teah Evans got the win, and Dailyn Wood went 4-for-4 with two inside-the-park home runs as the Golden Eagles opened the day with a 15-2 victory over Anniston.

Andy Fulmer works his first Calhoun County tournament as Weaver’s head coach on Monday at Choccolocco Park. (Photo by Joe Medley)

NO. 8 WEAVER: Kynlee Fulmer pitched a two-hitter with 11 strikeouts in five innings as the Bearcats sent Wellborn to the elimination bracket, 9-0. She also went 2-for-3 at the plate.

Peyton Marvasty and Alana Cooper had two RBIs apiece, and Anna Shirvinski went 2-for-3 with a double, a run and an RBI.

Sydney Bitzer went 2-for-3 with two runs and an RBI. McKennah Homesley and Jadyn Smith each had a single and an RBI.

NO. 12 JCA: Sophie Williams allowed no hits and no earned runs in three innings as JCA stayed alive, 7-2, while eliminating Faith. She also went 1-for-3 with a run and an RBI.

Addy Lee, Carlie Chesson and Riley Sanders each had one of JCA’s four hits.. Chesson, Bryleigh Reid and Cali Sexton each had an RBI.

Addy Lee (2) scored two runs in Jacksonville Christian’s victory over Faith Christian during Monday’s action in the Calhoun County tournament at Choccolocco Park. (Photo by Joe Medley)

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