Archived Story

Verbena falls to Central Coosa in tournament

Published 1:36pm Wednesday, March 6, 2013

By Brandon Sumrall | Special to the Advertiser

Despite frigid temperatures and sleet showers, the Verbena Invitational Varsity Softball tournament went on as planned on March 2 with the homestanding Verbena Red Devils taking on the Central Coosa Cougars in Round 1 of the single elimination tournament.

The visiting Cougars were not very kind to the Devils, eliminating them from the tournament with a 13-1, four-inning win.

Verbena's Chelsea Ray catches a fly ball during a tournament on March 2.
Verbena’s Chelsea Ray catches a fly ball during a tournament on March 2.

The Red Devils struggled at the plate against the pitching of Central Coosa’s Ashteon Fielding, managing only two base runners the first two innings on walks by Katelyn Green in the first and Alyssa Evans in the second.

Hope Driver pitched through an injury while on the mound and had a tough time finding the strike zone while issuing multiple walks for the Cougars and giving up an early 8-0 lead at the end of the second inning.

After her second walk of the game, Green would score the only run for the Devils on a Chelsea Ray double that would drive Green across the plate and break the shutout in the top half of the third inning.

Green took over pitching duties for Verbena in the third inning, but the Cougars continued with solid hitting, adding five more runs in the bottom of the third.

The Cougars closed out the Red Devils with a 1-2-3 bottom of the fourth, securing the victory and knocking the Devils out of the tournament.

In pool play, which took place before the elimination round, Dallas County defeated Verbena, 14-7; Montevallo topped Coosa, 9-3; Maplesville topped Verbena, 10-1; and Dallas County beat Maplesville, 9-2.

Dallas County defeated Montevallo in the championship game, 6-4.

2013 Chilton County Area Softball Preview

CHILTON COUNTY TIGERS

Class 5A

Coach: Clark Watley

Last year: Eliminated in second round of playoffs

Returning starters: Kricket Caton (sophomore, catcher/second base), Holly Watts (junior, third base/shortstop)

New faces: Cassie Phillips (eighth grade, third base), Hannah Jackson (sophomore, centerfield), Kelsey Headley (sophomore, left field), Kristin Binion (junior, pitcher/right field/centerfield), Taylor Smitherman (freshman, first base), Tiffany Crowson (senior, catcher/infield), Hannah Oakes (freshman, pitcher/outfield), Chynna Davis (senior, outfield), Haylee Cox (outfield, catcher), Brooke Sheffield (junior, pitcher/infield/outfield)

Outlook: While having just two returning starters might seem like a tough path to the top, Coach Watley said he felt it keeps everyone on the same page. “I believe the strongest team attribute would be the willingness to work hard and the never-quit attitude the girls have shown,” he said. “We hope to improve our pitching and situational decision-making skills. It will be important for our younger players to improve in these areas.”

JEMISON PANTHERS

Class 4A

Coach: Leighsa Robinson

Last year: Eliminated in third round of playoffs

Returning starters: Jennifer Paschal (sophomore, pitcher), Denten Ellison (junior, catcher), Morgan Lucas, (junior, third base), Wendy Spinener (junior, second base), Hannah Smith, (senior, first base), Amelia Baker, (sophomore, left field), Shelby Griffin, (senior, centerfield)

New faces: Brooke Lewis (junior, centerfield), Taylor Ray (freshman, left field)

Outlook: After meshing the last few seasons, Coach Robinson said she feels her team’s maturity will be the determining factor in their success. “You can say they have grown up together on the field,” she said. “We took our lumps over the past couple of years but now they are more mature on and off the field. We’ve got to learn to play mentally tough from start to finish.”

MAPLESVILLE RED DEVILS

Class 1A

Coach: Sam Dean

Last year: Eliminated in second round of state tournament

Returning starters: Autumn Smith (senior, pitcher), Kiara Andrews (senior, first base), Alexis Loggins (eighth grade, shortstop) Kathryn Jones (sophomore, catcher), Alexis Nix (freshman, centerfield)

New faces: Shelby Armstrong (senior, left field), Skyler Keener (second base), Ashton Taylor (freshman, third base)

Outlook: Although a very young team, (only three seniors and three sophomores), Coach feels a return to the state championships isn’t out of the question for the Red Devils. “I feel our strongest attribute is hitting and pitching,” he said. “The success of the team is going to depend on our young ladies’ determination and dedication.”

THORSBY REBELS

Class 3A

Coach: Christie Eyer

Last year: Eliminated in fourth round of playoffs

Returning starters: Ashlyn Chancellor (sophomore, right field), Braiden Gottier (junior, catcher), Christian Niece (junior, left field), Josie Adams (junior, second base), Kaley Perdue (sophomore, first base), Katherine Adkins (junior, right field), Keela Lucas (junior, centerfield), Kelly Nord (senior, third base), Rachel Curry (sophomore, left field), Taylor McManus (freshman, pitcher), Mercedes Smith (freshman, right field)

New faces: Lilly Barnett (eighth grade, shortstop)

Outlook: First-year coach Christie Eyer inherits a team that has played together for a while now, and feels confident about having a strong core group. “[They all] get along well,” she said. “They know each other’s strengths and weaknesses. If we work together, we’ll do really well.”

VERBENA RED DEVILS

Class 1A

Coach: Ricky Atcheson

Last year: Eliminated in second round of playoffs

Outlook: Coach Atcheson thinks the team’s level of success will come down to two aspects: heart and hustle. “The strongest attribute heading into the season is conditioning,” he said. “The girls are really pushing themselves to get stronger and faster. Our day-to-day work ethic and hustle will be the foundation of our success.”

Editor’s note: Season preview information from Billingsley and Isabella could not be collected by press time.

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