Bears win softball area championship

Published 9:24 pm Friday, May 3, 2013

Jump for joy: Billingsley’s softball team celebrates winning its area tournament Thursday at Maplesville.

Jump for joy: Billingsley’s softball team celebrates winning its area tournament Thursday at Maplesville.

By Brandon Sumrall | Special to the Advertiser

Troy, Ala. and the regional round of the state playoffs await the Billingsley softball team after the Bears won the Class 1A, Area 5 championship on Thursday night.

The double-elimination tournament got under way on Tuesday with the homestanding Maplesville Red Devils defeating Ellwood Christian, 19-2, and the Bears defeating the Autaugaville Eagles, 16-1.

The late game would switch the action to the loser’s bracket, where the Autaugaville Eagles gave Ellwood its second loss of the tournament.

The Red Devils and Bears matched up in the first game of the evening on Thursday in a contest that would see the Bears claw back from an early four-run deficit.

After a six-run second inning by the Red Devils, the Bear defense shut down the Maplesville bats while chipping away with a run in the third and two runs in both the fifth and sixth innings.

A triple by Payton Wallace to left field in the bottom of the sixth scored two Bear runners and was the difference in a 7-6 win for Billinglsey.

The loss forced the Red Devils into an elimination game with a waiting and rested Autaugaville team.

Three walks in the top of the first inning led to five runs for the Red Devils, but four consecutive scoreless innings kept the Eagles in the game and clinging to a one-run lead.

A three-run inning for the Red Devils in the bottom of the sixth forced a one-run answer in the top of the seventh by Autaugaville to again tie the game at 8-all.

The Devils threatened in the bottom of the seventh with two on and two outs, but a fly ball to left field would end the scoring opportunity, and an Autaugaville run in the top of the eighth couldn’t be matched by MHS, thus ending the team’s season with a 9-8 setback.

With only one win against Autaugaville standing between Billingsley and an area championship, the Bears got things off on the right foot, scoring 10 runs in the first two innings while only giving up four.

With Summer Gaither making short work of the Eagle bats, the Bears would go on to score four more in the bottom of the fifth, ending the game with the 10-run mercy rule, 14-4.