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Maplesville earns state tournament berth; CCHS falls just short

Maplesville on Saturday clinched a berth in this week’s Class 1A state softball tournament by winning the South Central Regional tournament.

Chilton County also played in a regional, but fell just short of qualifying for state with a 7-5 loss to Chelsea.

Maplesville breezed through their first three regional games, outscoring its opponents 24-0, but lost to Sweet Water, 12-8, in the championship round. Because the loss was Maplesville’s first in the double-elimination tournament, the Red Devils got to play Sweet Water again-and won 8-5.

Courtney Killingsworth was on the mound for Maplesville’s first three tournament wins, and Autumn Smith was the winning pitcher in the regional clinching game.

Heather Chambers posted a team-best .750 on-base percentage in the tournament despite playing with an injury.

“She twisted her knee in the first championship game and wasn’t able to walk,” assistant coach Chad Harrison said. “She would go up to bat and hit and hobble to first, and we would put a pinch runner in for her.

“Katlyn Freeman pulled a quad muscle—she was playing hurt. Our seniors just came up big all day.”

Another senior, second baseman Bayne Edwards, was second on the team with a .647 OBP.

Maplesville batters struck out only eight times in the tournament, while MHS pitchers struck out 33 opposing batters and walked only two.

CCHS, starting the day in the loser’s bracket, defeated Demopolis, 15-5, and Beauregard, 13-2, before falling.

CCHS coach Krisi Parrish said she was pleased with the showing by her young team (only one Tiger, center fielder Macee Thomas, is a senior).

“They’re very excited. We didn’t know if we had a chance or not,” Parrish said. “They played like I knew they could play all year.”

CCHS finished third in the region; last season, the Tigers didn’t win a single regional game.

Both April Lewis and Brianna Cleckler had three hits against Demopolis, and both Kadie Coker and Holly Watts had three hits against Beauregard.

Lauren Stewart and Lindsey Parrish had a pair of hits each against Chelsea.

Cleckler pitched all three games on Saturday. She allowed only 13 hits combined, but five CCHS errors were costly against Chelsea.

The Tigers outhit Chelsea, 7-4, in the game and led 5-2 in the fifth inning.