Nine-run seventh cements area title for MHS

Published 5:35 pm Wednesday, May 3, 2017

May means the postseason for softball in Alabama, and Maplesville started the month off in grand fashion with a 14-2 victory over Isabella to win the Area 5-1A championship on May 2.

The two rivals met in the seventh and final game of the tournament, after Isabella had forced an extra game with a 4-2 win over the Red Devils.

It was a pitching duel for the first five innings, as Maplesville’s Kaylee Wright and Isabella’s Noel Fjeldstad each held their own in the circle.

“We hit our spots really well and did a good job of getting in and out,” Maplesville head coach Clark Watley said. “Even in the game we lost, the pitching was great.”

However, the bats finally began to win the battles and Maplesville took advantage with three runs in the top of the sixth inning that extended the Red Devils’ lead to 5-1.

The big inning was highlighted by a bases-clearing two-run double to the right field fence by Maplesville senior Megan Weaver.

“When I saw it was outside [the plate], I just knew it was my pitch,” Weaver said.

The Red Devils were not finished scoring, and following an Isabella run in the bottom half of the sixth, Maplesville blew the doors off the game with a nine-run seventh inning.

A hit parade ensued, as Maplesville batted around in the order and cemented the victory with a bevy of insurance runs.

“I’ve grown a lot mentally this year, and have learned that I have to keep myself up for the rest of the team’s sake,” Wright said. “It relieves a lot of the pressure any time that we’re up.”

The seniors left their mark on the field prior to the tournament by painting “MHS” in the school’s colors on the center field grass, and then continued to leave their mark on the scoreboard once the tournament got under way.

It was the first area title for the six seniors that make up Maplesville’s senior class, since they were in seventh grade.

“This was our goal and it means everything,” Weaver said.

With the result, Maplesville and Isabella each earned a spot in the state regionals that will be played in Troy. Their opponents were undecided at the conclusion of the game.

Kristin Wilson of Isabella hit a pair of home runs out during the tournament, both against Maplesville.

Watley is in his first season as head coach of the Maplesville varsity softball team.

“The main thing was them learning how to compete and become winners,” Watley said. “They believed in themselves and worked really hard.”