Maplesville defends home field, wins area softball tournament

Published 11:09 am Thursday, May 4, 2023

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By Carey Reeder | Staff Writer

Maplesville High School defended home field and was awarded first place in the AHSAA Class 1A Area 6 Softball Tournament picking up two wins in day one on May 3. The Red Devils picked up wins against Autaugaville and Verbena high schools before being awarded first place in the tournament after Verbena chose to forgo the final two possible games.

“I am really proud of our seniors, and we have had a really good regular season,” Maplesville assistant coach Aaron Ratliff said. “Their leadership is going to be very important going into (regionals), and the younger ones are going to need to step up, and I think they will. It is one step at a time, and we are moving forward.”

Coach Geoffery Lockhart said injuries to multiple Verbena players, including ace pitcher Jaycee Quinn, led to the decision. Verbena would have had to defeat Maplesville twice to clinch the area tournament title and had already clinched a spot in the regional tournament by making the area tournament final.

“We had some injuries, and we were just not able to play,” Lockhart said. “We had some injuries that we really needed to get healed up. Jaycee’s shoulder was hurting her pretty bad, and we could not risk getting her an overuse injury or anything like that. We had some other girls who were injured as well, so we had to call it like it was.”

The Red Devils opened the tournament with a 15-0 win over Autaugaville. All 15 runs came in the first innings Maplesville was up to bat. Kamylia Talley and Hayden Carter each contributed four RBIs. Talleys came on an inside-the-park home run that made it 9-0. Mollie Kayte Smith struck out seven Autaugaville hitters.

Local foes Verbena and Billingsley faced off in the second first-round game of the tournament, and Verbena won in five innings 11-0. Quinn and Jasmin Moates both went 3-for-3 with two doubles and combined for five RBIs. Quinn was dominant in the circle as well, striking out 11 hitters.

After Billingsley knocked off Autaugaville 19-4 behind a combined six RBIs from Brylin Tomlin, Ada Willis and Megan Chandler to stay alive in the double elimination tournament, the two winners faced off in the final game of day one. Maplesville again exploded for double digit runs in the first inning, this time for 11. Jaden McGee was 3-for-3 with a triple and two RBIs, and Lexi Smith plated four runs while striking out five hitters. Kiara Ray shined bright for Verbena with a 3-for-5 game with two RBIs.

Maplesville advanced to the final with their two wins on day one, and that left a rematch between Verbena and Billingsley to open day two that would decide the second regional representative from the area. Verbena again had Billingsley’s number, closing the game out in five innings with a 13-0 win. Moates had five RBIs, Lakeyn Mims three RBIs and Ray knocked three base hits. Quinn struck out 10 of the 17 Bears’ hitters she saw.

“One of our goals is to make sure we progress in the postseason, and it was a grueling area tournament for us,” Lockhart said. “We had a late Tuesday night and the girls were tired, but the girls persevered and got through it.”

Maplesville and Verbena will both be in action at Lagoon Park in Montgomery on May 9-12 at the AHSAA Class 1A Central Regional Softball Tournament.