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Another softball classic

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, the Chilton County Softball Tournament on March 26-27 was as entertaining an event as you could hope for.

I’ve used this space to sing the praises of local softball before, but the tournament was so good that I must do so again.

The final game—between defending champion Chilton County and tournament host Jemison—was a classic. Jemison won, 2-1, behind some timely hitting, spectacular defense and unbelievable pitching.

The Panthers seemed to always be able to lay down a bunt to move a runner over, or to come with a clutch two-out hit. Shortstop Shelby Lopez made a potentially game-saving play when she snagged a line drive and doubled off the runner leaning off second base to end a CCHS threat late in the game.

Then there was Tiffany Guin, tournament Most Valuable Player, who was on the mound for all 28 innings her team was on the field.

The Panthers were understandably excited about winning, and they should have been. They had won only one game coming into the tournament and hadn’t won a county title since 2005.

That isn’t to make it seem like Jemison wasn’t a good team—they obviously are. But if Las Vegas were to set odds beforehand on who would win the tournament, CCHS and Maplesville, the two teams that met in the championship game last season, would have been the favorites. And don’t forget Thorsby, who won two years ago.

Also, kudos to Verbena for winning its first county tournament game in several years. The Red Devils are an underestimated team, and this won’t be the last time they surprise somebody.

Yet again, it was a county softball tournament to remember. The joy on the faces of the Jemison players after the last out was made is the kind of experience that makes us love sports.