G.W. Long 13, Mars Hill Bible 7
MONTGOMERY – G.W. Long battled from a 7-1 deficit in the championship game to beat Mars Hill Bible 13-7 as the Rebels claimed the 2018 AHSAA Class 2A State Softball championship. The state title also gave the school a sweep in Montgomery since the G.W. Long boys won the Class 2A state baseball crown, ironically, over Mars Hill Bible, earlier in the week.
Junior pitcher Libby Baker, the Class 2A state tourney MVP, supplied the power with two home runs and three RBIs for Long. Her two-run blast highlighted a seven-run fourth inning that gave the Lady Rebels (35-14) the lead for good 8-7.
Coach Nikki Long’s team rolled through the 2A state tourney undefeated with wins over Leroy 4-1, Lamar County 15-8 and Mars Hill Bible 5-2 in the winner’s bracket finals. Coach Matt Burgess’ Mars Hill girls downed Thorsby 11-0 and Reeltown 4-0 before falling to the loser’s bracket. The Panthers (45-16) beat Reeltown 9-3 to advance to the championship game.
G.W. Long had 10 hits in the finals with Kenzi Payne, Savanna Wood and Dallas Potter collecting two hits each. Potter also had a homer, had two RBIs and scored three times. Payne, Wood and Emmaline Hughes each added two RBIs.
Mars Hill scored all its runs in the first three innings off Baker, who allowed 10 hits, walked eight and struck out eight. Faith Stanford got the loss for the Panthers. Annah Steadhman collected a double and single to drive in three runs for Mars Hill. Riley Vaughn also had a double and two RBIs, and Kayla Thigpen had two hits and scored twice.
The state title was the first in school history for G.W. Long.
CLASS 2A ALL-STATE TOURNEY TEAM
Libby Baker, G.W. Long (MVP); Kenzi Payne, G.W. Long; Savanna Wood, G.W. Long; Emmaline Hughes, G.W. Long; Erika Mitchell, Mars Hill Bible; Riley Vaughn, Mars Hill Bible; Annah Steadman, Mars Hill Bible; Allie Mitchell, Mars Hill Bible.