Zion Chapel excited to enter uncharted territory

Published 10:15 pm Monday, May 12, 2014

Four years in a row, Zion Chapel was left thinking what might have been. But this go around, the Lady Rebels will finally get to experience the state tournament.

Zion Chapel went perfect through the regional tournament with wins over Prattville Christian, Central-Hayneville and Goshen to advance to the AHSAA State Tournament for the first time in school history.

“We have been here four times before and never made it,” Zion Chapel head coach Chelsi Jones said. “This group of girls has put in a lot of work to get to where we are. They deserve to be here, and we don’t want to just be happy to make it.”

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Zion Chapel downed Prattville Christian 7-5, beat Central-Hayneville 6-4 and rallied to knock off the Lady Eagles of Goshen 6-3.

Zion Chapel scored the final five runs of the game, to rally out of a 3-1 hole and claim the top seed out of the South Central Regional. Alex Ketcham gave the Lady Rebels the lead for good on a single to right. Whitney Rugg, who reached earlier in the inning on a walk after an eight-pitch at-bat, scored the go-ahead run.

Ivie Sanders gave Zion an insurance run later in the inning with an RBI groundout.

In the sixth, Zion picked up another big run on a single to center from Billie Copeland, scoring Morgan Carter.

Ketcham led Zion Chapel at the plate in the final game, going 4-for-4 with two RBIs and big home run to center field in the bottom of the first inning.

Shelby Sorrells got the win in all three games at the tournament.

Sorrells gave up 21 hits in the three games, and struck out 17 over the same duration. Earlier in the season Jones said that when Sorrells is dealing, Zion is in good shape.

“When Shelby is on in that circle, everyone else is on behind her,” Jones said. “She can work her pitches and change it up, and can hit her spots. All the girls have confidence when Shelby is out there.”

Zion Chapel opens the AHSAA State Tournament Friday at 9 a.m. Against Hatton. Hatton has won the last four consecutive 2A state championships.

The state tournament is held at Lagoon Park in Montgomery, and 48 teams from across Alabama’s six classifications will converge to settle the state champions.