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Fairhope sails to CAScoreboard Classic II Championship

Story by Griffin Pritchard | Publisher

Photos by CAScoreboard Photographers

WETUMPKA – After faltering in the state finale against the small-college that is Hewitt-Trussville to end the 2021 season, the Fairhope High Pirates hoisted the colors and set sail to rectify that in 2022. The Pirates parked on the banks of the Coosa and battled their way through Golden Tigers, purple and gold Tigers and Rebels before landing in the championship against a perfect pack of Leopards from Mobile Christian.

In the championship – Alea Johnson singled to drive home Bailey Wiggins and put Fairhope up 1-0. The Pirates plated two more in the fifth, adding insurance to their lead. Wiggins doubled to right to plate Emma Stewart and Victoria Moten.

The 3-0 tally proved to be the difference Fairhope held on and handed Mobile Christian their first loss of the season.

“I’m very proud of them,” said Trevor Powell, coach of the Fairhope Pirates. “This tournament was good for us. We faced some adversity being behind a couple of times and having to respond. We had a challenging and emotional game against Vestavia Hills (in the semifinal) that gave me an idea of what our kids are made of. They never panicked and handled the pressure well. Our pitching was solid all weekend and we swung the bat well at times. I’m particularly proud of our older, experienced kids that led the way and showed our younger players how we do things. There’s still a lot to improve on, but all in all, it was a good weekend.”

Johnson picked up the win inside the circle for the Pirates, working a complete game and fanning 11 while allowing just three free passes and two hits.

Kyndall Waller and Edy Gavin had the two Leopard hits while Isabella Neil was saddled with the loss.

“The 2022 Leopards are a special group that fights for each other,” said Mobile Christian Coach Kelly Pitts. “They outscored their opponents 54-8 this weekend and played a total of seven games. The Leopards have played unbelievable this season, going into the championship with a 20-0 record. They fought hard against Fairhope and were unfortunately not able to get any timely offense going against an outstanding Fairhope pitcher. Our pitching was solid, defense was dependable and offense was explosive. I’m trying to enjoy every minute with this team.”

The Fairhope / Mobile Christian finale capped nearly 48 hours of softball featuring teams from throughout the state, 31 in total, making this the largest tournament Wetumpka High has hosted.

After a day of pool play, the bracket was set to start Day 2.

Playoff Round 1:

Highlight: Elmore County def. Marbury 9-3

The two area opponents went to work plating runs early. Marbury scored three in the first. The rival Panthers opened the second with four runs and then added six more in the third.

“This weekend we didn’t play well,” said Jason Easterling, coach of the Bulldogs. “We came out flat against Foley (in pool play) and lost 5-1. Our pitching staff is young and we will go as far as they can take us. Skylar Barks (a sophomore) and Lexie Frost (a freshman) are our 1 and 2 with Evelyn Smith (the junior) our third. (Against Elmore County) I was proud of our girls though that they played great defense led by freshman Paysley Baylor, who made two highlight plays at shortstop. The future is very bright for Marbury softball. We’ve just got to keep improving every day.”

Anna Catherine Segrest, Mackenzie Smith and Ally Orr were the big hitters of the game, combining to push home seven runs. Orr finished the day 2-for-2 with a double and a triple and three RBIs. Segrest had three singles.

“I thought it was a productive weekend overall,” said Mark Segrest, coach of the Panthers. “I’m glad to have played five games, which is enough with our pitching depth. Our hitting was down some but our pitchers threw well and we faced a lot of quality pitching throughout the weekend.

Hailey O’Brien and Katie Capell combined to secure the win, working four innings of timed softball. O’Brien worked three innings with five strikeouts.

Prattville def. Prattville Christian 1-0

Calera def. Dallas County 13-1

Lawrence County def. Weaver 8-1

Russellville def. Stanhope Elmore 6-4

Highlight: Vestavia Hills def. Montgomery Catholic (4-2)

Montgomery Catholic fell behind early as Vestavia Hills plated three to start the game.

The Catholic defense continued to frustrate Vestavia batters. In the third the Rebels loaded the bases but a combination of a foul-out / plate at the plate ended the threat and kept the margin at two runs. In the bottom of the fifth Montgomery Catholic worked a runner around to third with no outs. They were unable to cash it in, a throwdown to second ended the threat

Rylee Wildcoxson drew a walk to start the inning and then advanced to second on a single from sister Auburn Wilcoxson. Rylee steals third and then home to cut into the Rebels lead, 3-1.

Vestavia Hills – however – plated a run in the top of the sixth to go up 4-1.

In the bottom of the frame, Mallory Hildebrand drew a free pass and took second. Mally Baranco enters the game to run for Hildebrand and scores on a Rebels error, moving the mark to the final of 4-2.

Wilcoxson, the elder, CC Crawford and Hayden Fitts had the three Knights hits in the loss.

Libby Pippin and Kayla Franklin led the Rebels at the plate. Pippin and teammate Kylie Reid homered accounting for three of Vestavia’s four runs.

Inside the circle Carissa Gilbert was saddled with the loss – working a complete game with nine strikeouts. Miah Simmons and Tait Davidson split the duties for the Rebels combining to fan seven.

“We had a tough pool and bracket play game with Lawrence County, Elmore County, and Vestavia Hills. I thought the girls fought hard and kept us in every game. We had a chance to win 2 of the games in the last inning but couldn’t pull it out. We needed to play those good teams to see more of where we are. We are still trying to get a feel for where we want everyone and just working to get a little better everyday,” said Whitney Toole, Montgomery Catholic’s coach.

Tallassee def. Dadeville 16-0

Mobile Christian def. Colbert County 12-0

Fairhope def. Lawrence County 3-2

Highlight: Benjamin Russell def. Spanish Fort (8-6)

With a hot Tallassee team waiting on deck – the Wildcats and Toros battled it out for a showdown with Tigers. Benjamin Russell struck early and often, sending the Toros to the short side of the scoreboard 4-0 and then 8-1.

“We did not compete at a high level this weekend,” said Toros Coach Lauren Stewart. “However, offensively, we had really strong moments. Three different underclassmen hit home runs and we rallied and scored each time we were down. As a young pitching staff, we have a lot of work to put in before May gets here. We are learning a lot each week and understand that this is a marathon, not a sprint. I hope for us to be on the upward trend as we begin area play this week.”

Spanish Fort, in the fifth, got hot; Kennedy Sevick and Allyson Boullon rattled off back-to-back homeruns.

Spanish Fort keeps the pressure on, working with bases loaded and no outs. Ella Grace Nobels shotgunned a pitch to second that ricocheted off the defender allowing two runs to score moving the mark to 8-5 as time ticks down in the bottom of the fifth. Pressley Parks connects on a pitch that bounces off the leftfielders outstretched glove and allows another run to score. Down 8-6 with an out, the Toros continue to swing the bat, with runners in scoring position.

Back-to-back outs stymie Spanish Fort’s efforts securing the Benjamin Russell win.

The Wildcats put up 11 hits, highlighted by the play of Taylor Harris, Morgan Phillips and Katie Davis. The two ‘Cats combined for multiple hits.

Ryann Ruffin, Harris, Macie Knox, Emma Tapley and Phillips drove home runs to put the Wildcats on top of their opening round opponents.

Harris picked up the win – working a complete game and fanning seven.

Rehobeth def. Jefferson Davis 7-0

Southside-Gadsden def. Chilton County 7-3

Munford def. Bibb County 4-2

Playoff Round 2

Highlight: Beulah def. Prattville (5-1)

Beulah has made a name this season knocking off larger schools. Advancing to the afternoon session of the second Central Alabama Scoreboard Classic hosted by Wetumpka High – they found a hungry Pride of Prattville Lions waiting on them. The Bobcats and Lions matched each other ‘s offense scoring one run each and taking the 1-1 tie into the third

“I’m extremely proud of the way we pitched all weekend and we were defensively  very sound, ” said Brian Pittman, coach of the Prattville High Lions. “Our offense has to come around for us to meet our goals. Overall though, I’m proud of my girls for the way we fought all weekend.”

The pitcher’s duel between Prattville’s Jessica Chord and Beulah’s Kaytie Morris continued into the fourth. Savannah Clements broke the stalemate with a no-outs solo shot to put the Bobcats up 2-1.

Chord – unphased – took Katie Morris to a full count before sitting her down on a swinging third strike. Beulah’s bats went back to work, putting a runner on second with two outs. Kyleigh Morgan turns on an offering and drives it to the corner scoring the insurance run. Prattville misplayed the throw in but was able to turn it into an out with Chord fielding the loose ball and throwing it to third to end the inning. Going into the fifth, the Bobcats led 3-1.

Prattville sits Beulah down in order. The Bobcats added two more to the tally to pick up the 5-1 victory and advance to the Quarterfinal.

Clements and Green combined for four of the Bobcats’ seven hits.

Morris – inside the circle – worked the complete game opposite Cord recording 10 strikeouts. Cord fanned nine and was saddled with the loss.

Wetumpka defeated Munford 12-0

Mobile Christian def. Southside-Gadsden 6-1

Russellville def. Foley 10-0

Elmore County def. Rehobeth 5-3

Wetumpka def. Munford 12-0

Fairhope def. Lawrence County 3-2

Tallassee def. Benjamin Russell 7-6

Mobile Christian def. Southside-Gadsden 6-1

Russellville def. Foley 10-0

Following Tallassee’s loss to Fairhope, Coach Pat Love said, “We played pretty good. We swung the bats decent all tournament until the last game. We made too many mistakes in the game against Fairhope. Can’t do that when you play against good teams.”

Quarterfinal Scores:

Wetumpka def. Russellville 4-2

Mobile Christian def. Elmore County 5-3

Fairhope def. Tallassee 10-2

Vestavia Hills def. Beulah 4-0

Semifinal Scores: 

Mobile Chrsitian def. Wetumpka 7-0

Fairhope def. Vestavia Hills 3-2

Championship:

Fairhope def. Mobile Christian 3-0

Founder/Publisher of Central Alabama Scoreboard. Former sportsguy, managing editor, currently working for the City of Tallassee as a Public Information Specialist and grant writer.

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