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Zion clips GHS

For the second straight day the Zion Chapel Lady Rebels defeated the Goshen Lady Eagles on the softball diamond by one run.

The difference Wednesday was the game was for the area tournament championship. Zion won 4-3 and again scored the winning run late in the game.

“It was a total team effort and everyone got in today,” Zion head coach Chelsi Jones said. “I had substitute runners that ran their hardest and these girls have not won an area tournament before so they are super excited and I look for good things to happen at regionals.”

Jones led the Lady Rebels (16-14) to a split of the regular season area championship and the tournament championship in her first year at the helm of the squad. She said she is glad to have such a talented pitcher on the mound.

“Heather (Hines) is a junior and I am thankful she will be back next year,” Jones said. “We have talked all year about throwing the best game of our lives and I think at this tournament she has thrown two of the best games she has ever pitched.”

Hines would have to agree.

“This was very stressing, but it feels really good,” Hines said. “I just had to keep my mind in the game and think about other things and try your hardest.”

Hines and Goshen pitcher Alli Warrick battled for the second straight day and Hines was the one-run victor again, but Warrick and the Lady Eagles (16-9) did not go down without a fight.

After being shutout Tuesday 1-0, the Lady Eagles took a 2-1 lead into the bottom of the fifth inning. Three hits later, the Lady Rebels held a 3-2 lead. Goshen tied the score in the sixth, but Zion charged back on top 4-3 in the bottom of the sixth and Hines shut down Goshen for the win.

“It is going to come down to who makes the fewest mistakes and we had that last inning where we should have made a couple plays and it cost us the game, but our girls kept scoring and kept coming back,” Goshen head coach Dee Hughes said. “I am proud of them and they never gave up. I told them it was going to come down to who was hot and who executed and we just ran out of time.”

The Lady Rebels jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the first inning when Kelli Behrens singled to drive in Hannah Goodson, who was running for Hines. Hines opened the inning with a bunt single.

Goshen tied the score in the second when Samantha Roy doubled to plate Shelby Jo Vinson. Vinson reached on a fielder’s choice.

The score stayed tied for another three frames until Goshen went ahead 2-1 when Roy grounded into a fielder’s choice and Caneshia Whatley scored. Whatley was running for Warrick. The Lady Eagles left opportunity on the diamond, as they left the bases loaded with one out in the inning.

Becca Hodge and Lindsey Amlong scored for Zion in the fifth inning on a single by Hines.

Sidney Sullivan put down a sacrifice bunt to score Whatley to tie the game at 3-3 and Lauren Knighten ripped a ball off of the Goshen third baseman’s glove to score Behrens in the bottom of the sixth for the winning run.

Hines led the Lady Rebels on the mound and at the plate. He was 2-for-3 with two RBIs and allowed three runs on five hits, struck out six and hit one batter.

Warrick allowed four runs on six hits, struck out five batters and walked one. Samantha Roy led the Lady Eagles at the plate, going 2-for-3 with two RBIs and one stolen base.

Kaitlin Thomas, Kristen Dease and Warrick each had one hit.

Warrick pitched a no-hitter in the third game of the tournament against Highland Home, as the Lady Eagles won 5-0. She struck out 12 batters, walked two and hit one.

“I couldn’t have done it without my defense,” Warrick said. “They had my back all day.”

Niyoka Slater was 2-for-3 with one run scored. Thomas went 2-for-2 with two triples and two runs scored. Dease and Shelby Jo Vinson were 1-for-3 and Dease had one run scored and two stolen bases.

Both the Lady Eagles and the Lady Rebels now head to the double elimination AHSAA 2A South Central Regional at the Lagoon Park Softball Complex in Montgomery Friday.

Zion Chapel will face Area 7 runner-up Hale County and Goshen takes on Area 8 winner Horseshoe Bend. Times have not been determined yet.

Click here for a photo gallery from the Championship Game