Jemison rules county softball tournament

The Jemison Panthers can add a checkmark to the list, after completing the goal of becoming 2017 Chilton County Softball Tournament champions after a 3-0 victory over Chilton County High School on March 18 at Isabella High School.

It was the first of many goals that the Panthers have planned for this season, which includes winning its area and making a run at the state title in Class 5A.

“It was a big accomplishment, because we’ve went years without winning,” Jemison senior Jessica Paschal said. “This year we came out there with a purpose. We knew that it was what we wanted and we went out there and got it.”

What a difference a year makes, after Jemison was set to host the tournament last year, but it was cancelled due to rain.

The Panthers wasted no time and scored three runs in the first inning behind a triple by Hannah Rose Corbin and another base hit by Erristen Evans.

“Our goal was to come out and get the momentum in our favor early on,” Jemison head coach Nathan Hayes said. “That really got us going.”

Those were the only runs in the game for either team, as it turned into a pitching duel.

Corbin locked down the Panthers’ advantage en route to pitching a complete game shutout with 11 strikeouts.

The performance helped solidify Corbin as the tournament MVP.

Helping the Panthers in their road to the title was the dynamic pitching combination of Corbin and Kennise Bolton.

“You always want to play perfect, but you also know that it’s almost impossible,” Hayes said. “To have two pitchers that can step up when the other one is struggling is big.”

According to Paschal, an extra inning victory over Verbena on the opening day of the tournament helped to refocus the team for the days to follow.

It was the third time this year that the Panthers had faced Chilton County after facing them in the regular season and in pool play, both Jemison victories.

“They have stats on us and we have stats on them,” Paschal said. “We had an idea of what they wanted to do and we caught on quick.”

The win was Jemison’s 15th of the season and is the first county championship for the seniors, which consist of Paschal, Destiny Bailey and Jasmine Epperson.

“The county championship is another notch that they can put in their belt,” Hayes said.

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