Three Chilton teams advance to softball state tournaments

Published 11:04 am Friday, May 10, 2024

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By Carey Reeder | Managing Editor

Four Chilton County high school softball teams entered their respective regional tournaments in Montgomery, and three advanced to the state tournaments next week. Maplesville, Thorsby and Verbena high schools clinched their spots in the state tournament for consecutive years after winning or finishing runners-up in the central regionals.

AHSAA Class 1A Regional Tournament

The pair of Red Devils advanced to the regional with Maplesville winning the Class 1A Area 6 tournament over Verbena, and both won their opening game on May 7 to advance in the winner’s bracket.

Maplesville took on Berry High School in their opener and dispatched them in five innings to the tune of a 15-4 rout. Berry took a 3-0 lead in the second inning, but that was short lived as Maplesville scored two runs, and then Jaden McGee ripped a two-RBI double to give Maplesville the 4-3 lead in their half inning. McGee was 2-for-4 with two doubles and three RBIs.

After Berry tied the game at four their next at bat, the Red Devils responded with 10 runs in the bottom half of the inning to put the game out of reach. Hannah Crowe joined McGee with two hits, and Kamylia Talley led the team with four RBIs followed by Kennedy Reed and Kenlee Swanson with two each.

Verbena faced South Lamar High School in its tournament opener and took a 1-0 lead in the second inning on an error. South Lamar tied the game, but Kiara Ray knocked an RBI single in the top of the fifth inning to take the lead back for Verbena, and Mia Schuffert’s two-RBI single and another run in the sixth inning made it 5-1. Lakeyn Mims put the finishing touches on the 7-2 win with a two-run homer in the seventh inning. Mims was 2-for-4 and the only hitter with multiple hits.

In the circle, Jaycee Quinn was solid with a complete seven innings with six hits, two runs (one earned) and nine strikeouts to boost Verbena to the next round.

Maplesville dismantled Keith High School 15-0 in five innings to advance to the regional final as Mollie Kayte Smith and Reed combined to throw five innings with two hits, no runs, no walks and nine strikeouts. McGee was a standout again going 3-for-3 with a home run, triple and four RBIs. Allie Hand and Crowe each contributed two RBIs, and Makenzie Williams, Smith and Reed each had two base hits.

Verbena’s second round matchup with Wadley High School went to extra innings with the score tied at five runs. Verbena started the game with three runs in the first inning behind a two-RBI triple from Quinn, and an RBI flyout from Mims. They added a run in the fourth inning with Schuffert’s walk and in the sixth inning with Quinn’s second triple.

In extras, Verbena got the first two batters on with walks, and an RBI single from Ray plated the go-ahead run. RBI singles from Mims and Schuffert later in the inning, as well as a few unearned runs, gave Verbena a comfortable 10-5 lead to hold on to and advance to the regional final. Quinn and Schuffert both knocked three base hits, and Adie Tubbs earned four walks in the game.

The regional final on May 8 was the sixth time this season that the two Chilton County schools played each other with Maplesville winning all five matchups, and they kept the perfect mark alive beating Verbena 8-1 to win the Class 1A Central Regional Tournament. Up 4-1 entering the seventh inning, Maplesville posted four runs in their final at bat behind an RBI triple from Talley, and RBI singles from Smith and Reed. Smith was 3-for-3, Talley was 2-for-4 and Reed added two RBIs. Smith stifled the Verbena offense to one hit while striking out six batters.

Verbena’s tournament was not done yet as it moved to the last game of the regional tournament to decide the last spot in the 2A state tournament. A huge offensive output from Verbena outhitting South Lamar 15-4 overshadowed the 11 errors charged to the Red Devils, and they clinched their spot at states with a 13-10 win.

Five Verbena hitters had multi-hit games with three having three-hit games in Quinn, Schuffert and Tubbs. Tubbs drove in a team high four runs.

Maplesville and Verbena return to the Class 2A State Softball Tournament for the second consecutive season. Both teams get their tournaments started on May 14 at 10:15 a.m. at Choccolocco Park in Oxford with Maplesville taking on Spring Garden High School, and Verbena facing Skyline High School.


AHSAA Class 2A Regional Tournament

Chilton County had two teams in the Class 2A Regional Tournament as well in Isabella and Thorsby. The Rebels ran through the regional outscoring their opponents 18-1 across three games in Montgomery, starting with a 7-0 win over Vincent High School in their opener. Makinley Turner threw a complete game surrendering just two hits while striking out 15 batters. Brinley Giambrone and Allie Reeser each had two base hits, and Reeser and Braelyn Whitfield combined for five RBIs.

In the semifinals, Thorsby faced Horseshoe Bend High School in a low-scoring, extra innings affair. The Rebels took an early 1-0 lead after an error in the first inning, and held that lead until the top of the sixth inning when Horseshoe Bend tied the game.

The game saw only eight combined hits, and Turner gave up just three of them pitching all 10 innings in the game with 22 strikeouts. The tied game lasted until the 10th inning before Giambrone got on following a hit by pitch. Turner was the next batter, and she knocked the game winning double to walk it off and plate the winning run to send the Rebels to the regional tournament final against Lamar County High School.

In the final, Turner was the star again, throwing a complete game again with four hits, no runs and 12 strikeouts to lead the Rebels to a 9-0 win, and the regional tournament title. Eight of the nine Thorsby batters recorded a hit, and none bigger than Turner’s three-run homer in the first inning that opened the scoring. She had four RBIs to lead the team, followed by Reeser with two. The win sends Thorsby to the Class 2A State Softball Tournament for the third consecutive year. The Rebels open against Pisgah High School at 9 a.m. on May 16 at Choccolocco Park in Oxford.

The Mustangs tournament started with an 8-3 defeat to Southeastern High School on May 8 after four runs late put the game away. Isabella was led by Blair Underwood and Ashley Wells both earning two base hits, and Eliza Lovett drove in two runs.

The Mustangs faced Reeltown High School later in the day and were eliminated from the regional after a 7-3 defeat. Down 4-0, Anna Johnson roped a two-RBI single to cut the lead in half in the third inning. However, Reeltown nullified the run their next half inning and Isabella scored one run the rest of the game. Wells, Aliyah Patterson and Amelia Fjeldstad each had two base hits, and Johnson accounted for two runs batted in.