CHHS finishes second:
Wetumpka knocks off Lady Trojans 6-3 in deciding third game of Class 5A Section 2 Tournament
By KEVIN PEARCEY
Charles Henderson High School forced a deciding third game in the Class 5A Section 2 Softball Tournament on Saturday night against Wetumpka, but it was the Lady Indians who took home the championship with a 6-3 victory.
Brooke Ross held the Lady Trojans scoreless through the first six innings of play and the Lady Indians went to work offensively, pounding out 12 hits against CHHS’s Brittany Carlisle and Rachel Spurlin. Spurlin was charged with the loss, giving way to Carlisle in the fifth inning with Wetumpka up 2-0.
CHHS head coach Steve Haug praised Wetumpka’s hitting, but took issue with the way Ross pitched the ball in the final game.
"The ‘crow-hopping’ hurt our timing," said Haug. "Because she was releasing the ball a lot closer then you think. She was leaping. When you leave the rubber the ball’s supposed to come out of your hand. If nothing else, you have to keep that back foot on the ground. Every time, she was jumping. That was one of the reasons we were having so much trouble because the ball was getting there later then we thought it should get there. They (the umpires) should have called it every time she did it until she stopped."
After being regulated to the loser’s bracket following an afternoon 3-1 loss to Wetumpka, the Lady Trojans beat Stanhope-Elmore 13-4 to set up the first rematch. Facing off against Wetumpka ace Amber Gregory, Spurlin took the 7-5 win in seven innings. Gregory had allowed
only five hits in the first contest, but CHHS tripled that number with a 15-hit effort in the second, including Spurlin’s own 4-for-4 mark. Brittany Carlisle’s RBI single and Ashton Spann’s sacrifice fly broke a 5-5 deadlock in the top of the seventh.
The Lady Trojans got contributions from the top of the lineup to the bottom. Chelsea Howard, Andrea Ellis, Spann, and Allie Park each had two hits. Carlisle, Natalie Patterson and Clair Goodson each had one.
"We started hitting her," said Haug about the crucial win. "And that’s why he (the Wetumpka coach) changed his pitchers (in the second game). And it worked."
Wetumpka got one run in the first inning off an Ashley Elmore single, picking up an additional run in the second on a sacrifice fly. The Lady Indians increased their lead to four runs in the fifth, opening with a single by Becky Walls. Two straight bunts followed to load the bases on Carlisle and Elmore delivered an RBI with a forced out at first scoring another runner for Wetumpka.
Lindsey Hobson appeared to put the game out of reach with her two-run double in the seventh, but the Lady Trojans fought back in their final at-bat. Spurlin and Samantha Johnson led off with consecutive basehits and Spann drove home a runner with a single. Patterson’s double with two outs scored two runs also, but Goodson’s ground out to first ended the game.
"We battled back and won the first one and got close in the last one," said Haug. "We came back to score three runs in the seventh inning to make it close. They didn’t whip anybody."
With the second place finish, the Lady Trojans will be on the road for the first round of sub-state competition which starts next week.
"More then likely we’ll be at Robertsdale or Escambia County," said Haug. "Robertsdale pretty much dominates that area down there."
The Lady Trojans are 32-16 on the season.
In a rematch of an earlier morning game on Saturday, the Lady Trojans scored 13 runs off 14 hits and Carlisle earned her ninth win of the year, limiting the Lady Mustangs to only five hits in the 13-4 CHHS victory.
Johnson led the Lady Trojans, going 5-for-5, while Howard was 3-for-4. Johnson drove in three runs as did Spurlin on one hit. Wesley added two hits and Park, Patterson and Ellis each had hits as well.
The Lady Trojans used an 11-run fourth inning to close the door on Stanhope-Elmore in a five inning game early Saturday morning.
Wesley was 3-for-5 with five RBIs.
Carlisle pitched a one-hitter, facing 16 batters and striking out six. The sophomore also had two hits, as did Johnson, Spurlin and Goodson. Ellis, Spann, Riley and Park also had hits.
Allie Park (10-3) picked up the win in three innings against Greenville on Friday night.
The Lady Tigers cut Charles Henderson’s lead to 2-1 in the third, but the Lady Trojans responded with two straight one-run innings, capping the game off with a five-run outburst in the sixth.
Howard was 2-for-4 with three RBIs to lead CHHS.