2013: SoftballPublished 11:01pm Tuesday, December 31, 2013
Goshen, CHHS, PLAS advance to state tournaments
The ladies of the softball diamond captured the hearts of many of the residents of the Troy area by rallying back from big time deficits to score wins, left opposing batters looking foolish with an array of curves and rise balls and powered by opponents with the long ball.
Three Troy area teams, Charles Henderson, Goshen and Pike Liberal Arts, made the trip to Lagoon Park in Montgomery to compete in their respective state tournaments, with the Lady Eagles having the best tourney run.
The Lady Eagles played on the final day of softball season, facing off against Lexington High School in the Class 2A Alabama High School Athletic Association tournament in Montgomery.
And although the Lady Eagles lost 7-0, the coach held her head high after the game, and encouraged her players to do the same.
“It could’ve been a different ball game had our team gotten momentum,” Hughes said.
The Lady Eagles had fought hard to make it to Friday’s game, playing three games in Thursday’s opening round of the tournament. The team easily won the first, defeating Walter Wellborn 5-2, but lost to Mobile Christian before coming back to defeat Prattville Christian 3-2.
Goshen dominated The Messenger All-Area team with seven honorees, including Player of the Year Shelby Vinson.
Shelby Vinson led the Goshen Lady Eagles, and the Troy area, in nearly every offensive category in 2013. In addition to her 16 home runs and 55 RBIs, Vinson scored 39 runs, and struck out just 11 times all season. She connected with 19 doubles, and finished with an outstanding 1.098 slugging percentage. Vinson will continue her softball career at Faulkner State Community College in Bay Minette, Ala.
Charles Henderson got hot late, and surprised many fans with an improbable run to the state tournament.
The Lady Trojans fended off elimination in four-straight games in the Gulf Shores Regional to advance to Montgomery for the first time in may years.
Charles Henderson dropped its opening game to Haleyville High School, 8-1, in the AHSAA Class 4A State Tournament.
The Trojans fell behind early and just couldn’t fight back against Haleyville starter Holly Ward.
In game two Charles Henderson fell to Oak Grove and was eliminated from the tournament.
After three scoreless innings, Oak Grove took control and never looked back dropping Charles Henderson 5-0 in an elimination game.
Charles Henderson finishes the season 20-29.
The Lady Trojans placed three on the All-Area team: pitcher Becca Hartley, designated hitter Olivia Hudson and outfielder Madison Mehaffey.
The Pike Liberal Arts Lady Patriots dropped a pair of one-run games on the opening day of the state tournament and ended their season. Pike lost to Kingwood Christian 5-4 in game one and then fell to Glenwood Academy 8-7.
Pike head coach Wayne Grant said it was a frustrating end to the season, because he felt as if the Lady Pats could have won both games.
“Games like those are ones that you remember for all the wrong reasons,” said Grant. “When you are up, and lose late, it stays with you. We have beaten ourselves at times with mistakes.”
Despite the loss Grant, who was replaced in by former Charles Henderson star Allie Park, said the future is bright for Pike Liberal Arts softball.
“We didn’t win the state tournament, but were one of the select teams that made it,” said Grant. “We have quite a few players returning for next season, so things will continue moving in the right direction for us.”
Pitcher Ellie Barron and catcher Kayla Benton were named to the All-Area team.
Pike County advanced to the Regional tournament for the first time in many years, and has changed the fortunes of the Bulldogs softball program.