Tigers eliminated, Bears fall one game short of advancing (updated)

Published 6:44 am Saturday, May 11, 2013

Chilton County High School’s softball team was eliminated after two games, and Billingsley came up one game short of advancing out of its South Central Region tournaments at the Troy Sports Complex.

Chilton County High School dropped its first game of the Class 5A tournament, 10-0 to Briarwood on May 10.

The Tigers then fell later in the day to Demopolis, 13-11, ending their season, despite loading the bases in the bottom of the sixth inning and scoring one run in the bottom of the seventh.

“We’re a young team that gained momentum and confidence as we went,” CCHS coach Clark Watley said. “We competed hard and the girls progressed, and that’s all you can ask for.”

Billingsley began play at 8 a.m. on May 10 and won its first game easily, 15-0 over Loachapoka.

But the Bears lost to Ragland, 14-1, later in the day.

Only one game away from elimination on May 11, BHS picked up wins over Faith Christian (6-5) and Wadley (7-3 in 13 innings) before losing to Fayetteville (14-4).

A win over Fayetteville would have earned the Bears a berth in the Class 1A state tournament.

BHS coach J.T. Lawrence said the Wadley game, which lasted longer than three hours, exhausted his team physically and emotionally.

“It took us so long to get off that game and coming off that emotional high,” Lawrence said.

The Bears only had about 15 minutes to regroup after the end of the Wadley game before they played Fayetteville.

Pitcher Summer Gaither pitched all 13 innings against Wadley, but she was spelled by Madison Motley and Anna Asbury in the Fayetteville game.

Gaither threw 158 pitches as she faced 48 Wadley batters.

“I took it really hard,” Gaither, the team’s only senior and primary pitcher since her seventh grade season, said about the team’s season coming to an end.

But Gaither said she thinks her teammates could have the opportunity to advance to the state tournament next season.

“If they work hard they can,” she said.

Lawrence echoed that thought, saying the Bears benefitted from their sub-state appearance.

“We had been telling them that they were good enough to go to state,” Lawrence said. “I think they finally had bought into that belief collectively, and you definitely see the disappointment on their faces. It was a great experience for them to come that close to going to state.”