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CLASS 1A CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES Sweet Water 4, Decatur Heritage 2

    MONTGOMERY – Sweet Water High School junior right-hander Jonah Smith hurled a four-hitter, walked none and struck out seven as the Bulldogs (31-7) beat defending Class 1A state champion Decatur Heritage 4-2 in game one of the 2017 AHSAA Class 1A State Baseball Championship Series at Riverwalk Stadium Monday.
   Smith (14-2) saved his best for last after Coach Steve Meek’s Eagles (22-12) loaded the bases with no outs in the top of the seventh inning. Smith struck out the next batter, gave up a long fly out to right center that plated a run and then closed out the game with a short fly out to send Coach John Gluschick’s Bulldogs into game two at Riverwalk Stadium Tuesday leading the best 2-of-3 series 1-0. First pitch Tuesday will be at 10 a.m. The third game, if needed, will follow approximately 30 minutes after game two ends. All games are being live-streamed over the NFHS Network.
    Decatur Heritage took a 1-0 lead in the top of the second inning when Grayson Wakefield got an infield single and scored on a double-play later in the inning. Sweet Water took the lead with two runs in the bottom of the third, added one run in the fourth and another in the sixth.  Shamar Lewis had two hits and scored a run to lead the Bulldogs. Matthew Mendenhall had a single, sacrifice fly and RBI and Braiden Broussard had a double and scored a run.
    Jeff Hunter, Jackson Parke and Carter Sample also had hits for Decatur Heritage.  Walker Jones drilled a towering blast to right center with the bases loaded in the seventh that right fielder William Huckabee hauled in despite a collision with center fielder  Sasha Smith. Huckabee was able to get the ball back to the infield in time to limit the damage to one run and Jonah Smith got the next out to end the game.
    Piedmont and Gordo played game one of the Class 3A Championship Series Monday night at Riverwalk in a game that started at 7 p.m. 

2017 CLASS 6A BOYS SOCCER CHAMPIONSHIPS

Pelham 2, Cullman 0

     HUNTSVILLE – Pelham won its first state boys’ soccer championship in school history Saturday beating defending Class 6A state champion Cullman 2-0 in the 2017 Class 6A state finals at John Hunt Park to close out the 27th annual AHSAA State Soccer Championships.
     Pelham (22-6-1), coached by Patrick McDonald, got a big effort from  6A Championships MVP Braxton Jeffcoat, who scored one goal in both the semi-finals, showed great leadership in sparking the Panthers in the final match to the state crown.
    Armando Valencia  scored on a miraculous free kick midfield moon shot that climbed in the wind just over the outreached arms of Cullman goalkeeper Jaron Potter at the 20:47 mark. Pelham’s defenders kept pressure on the Bearcats (16-7-1) the entire match – keeping the ball on their side of the field most of the contest.
   Jose Jimenez scored a late goal to seal the win. The Panthers out-shot Coach Casey Harbin’s Bearcats 16-6. Potter registered seven saves for Cullman, and Pelham keeper Seth Torman had two.
    Cullman has two state titles to its credit, winning in 2002 and 2016.

Jimmy Lay



2017 CLASS 7A GIRLS SOCCER CHAMPIONSHIPS

McGill-Toolen Catholic 2, Vestavia Hills 0

     HUNTSVILLE – McGill-Toolen Catholic High school downed defending Class 7A girls’ state soccer champion Vestavia Hills Saturday at John Hunt Park to claim the Mobile school’s first state title in school history.
    Senior goalkeeper Eva Knapstein of McGill-Toolen (23-2), named the Class 7A State Championships MVP,  stopped six shots on goal to secure the shutout over the Lady Rebels (19-2-3). She allowed only one goal in the semifinals versus Fairhope.
     Vestavia (19-2-3), coached by Brigid Littleton, out-shot McGill-Toolen 11-8.
     The match was still tied at 0-0 at halftime, Sophomore Angelina Piccini’s goal at 47:33 McGill-Toolen a 1-0 lead and more importantly, gave Coach Cheryl Flores’ Jackets the momentum the rest of the way. McGill’s tough defense allowed Vestavia Hills only one shot on goal the rest of the match.
   Junior Chloe Martin scored an insurance goal in the final 10 minutes to seal the win.

Vestavia Hills’ sophomore goalkeeper Anna Woodson recorded three saves for the Rebels, who have four state titles to their credit including winning in 2001, 2005, 2007 and 2016.
Jimmy Lay


2017 CLASS 6A GIRLS SOCCER CHAMPIONSHIPS

Chelsea 2, Southside-Gadsden 0

     HUNTSVILLE – Chelsea High School goalkeeper Sabrina Lang stopped all four shots Southside-Gadsden could send her way Saturday and Lexie Duca anchored the Hornets’ strong defense in a 2-0 win over the Panthers in the Class 6A girls’ state soccer championship match Saturday at Huntsville’s John Hunt Park.
    Duca was named Class 6A State Championships MVP for Chelsea (17-6-2), coached by Jonathan Hammett. The sophomore scored one goal in the finals and turned in a strong defensive performance to help secure the shutout.
   Chelsea took a quick 1-0 lead on Duca’s goal 4:15 into the contest. She got an assist from Kailey Littleford at the 4:15 mark. Southside was able to force two corner kicks and 3 shots on goal down the stretch, but Lang, a senior, stymied the efforts with her play at the net.
    Chelsea was able to get off five shots on goal in the second half finally scored at the 76:54 mark when Madeline Gullien scored to give the Hornets a 2-0 lead.
     Southside head coach Tiffany Julien Cargill used two goalkeepers with Savanna Blackwell making two saves and Alley Rurgi notching four. Chelsea out-shot Southside 16-6 for the game.

      The win gave Chelsea its second state title and the first since 2012.


2017 CLASS 7A BOYS SOCCER CHAMPIONSHIPS

Oak Mountain 2, Davidson  1 (2 OT, 3-0 in shootout)

      HUNTSVILLE – Oak Mountain substitute keeper Xzavier Brown stopped all three Davidson High School kick attempts in the shootout as the Eagles won their third Class 7A boys’ soccer championship in row beating the Warriors 2-1 (3-0 in the shootout).
    The match was tied at 1-1 at the end of regulation Saturday
at Huntsville’s John Hunt Park.     Tournament MVP, junior Jackson Murphy scored at the 5:41 mark to give Oak Mountain (20-4-4) an early 1-0 lead. Davidson (17-13-1) tied the match late in the second half when senior Griffin Tucker launched a looping rocket into the corner of the net on a free kick. The contest ended regulation tied and was still 1-1 after two overtime periods to set up the shootout.
     Oak Mountain Coach Daniel DeMasters opted to send in Brown and his sophomore keeper successfully stopped all three Warriors’ kicks. The Eagles put three shots in the net to seal the win.
     Oak Mountain, which now owns seven state titles include the last three 7A championships in a row, out-shot Davidson 13-5. Coach Kevin Delange’s senior goalkeeper Christopher Berry managed five saves overall. 


Class 7A Softball Championships Sparkman Wins State Title with 9-2 Win over Spain Park

      MONTGOMERY – Sparkman High School pitcher Lily Calvert pitched 6 1/3 inning in relief to get the win Saturday afternoon as the Lady Senators beat Spain Park 9-2 in the AHSAA Class 7A State Softball Tournament finals at Lagoon Park.
     The championship was the sixth for Sparkman since 2006 – but the first in Class 7A.
     Kailey Stoker started for the Senators but Palmer brought in Calvert after two runs had scored in the first inning of the finals.  She got out of the jam and blanked the Jaguars of Coach C.J. Hawkins on five hits and struck out six before yielding to Paige Bannerman in the seventh to get the final out.
    Stoker and Mackenzie Nutt each slugged homers and drove in two runs for Sparkman.  Taylor Davis had two singles and scored three runs, and Calvert had two hits and three RBIs. The Senators scored three runs in the first inning, four in the third and two in the fourth.
    Spain Park got two hits each from Julianna Cross, Destini England and Kynadi Tipler.
    Annabelle Widra went five innings, allowed four hits and struck out four to get the loss.
    Sparkman won all four games at Lagoon Park in the 7A tourney beating Auburn (6-1), Spain Park (7-0), Vestavia Hillls (13-3) and Spain Park in the finals.
    The Jags beat Fairhope in round one, was sent to the loser’s bracket by Sparkman and then beat Central-Phenix City, James Clemens and Vestavia Hills to reach the championship game.

Class 6A Softball Championships Chelsea beats Oxford 3-1 in finals

     MONTGOMERY – Winning pitcher Sarah Cespedes hurled a complete-game four-hitter and struck out four to lead Chelsea to a 3-1 win over Area 10 rival Oxford  Friday night in the finals of the 2016 Class 6A State Softball Championships played at Lagoon Park.
     The Hornets (23-14) of Coach Russell McCartey went undefeated with four straight wins including identical 3-1 wins over Oxford  in the winner’s bracket finals and the championship game.
     Oxford led 1-0 after one inning when Taylor Ellison singled and scored on Sarah Howell’s single.   Chelsea tied the score in the top of fourth when one run and sealed the victory with two runs in the top of the seventh on Mallory Bradford’s home run.
      Alex Smithson added three hits, including a double, and scored a run. Tristan Ziannis also had two hits and Lexi Preisendorfer had one hit and an RBI.
     Howell had two hits and Oxford’s only run batted in.
    Chelsea beat Dothan (6-2), Southside-Gadsden (6-3) and Oxford twice to win its first state title since 2012.

Class 3A Softball Championships Hale County Repeats as 3A State Champs

      MONTGOMERY – Hale County High School downed Pisgah 6-2 Saturday afternoon at Lagoon Park in the finals of the 2016 AHSAA Class 3A State Softball Tournament to win the Wildcats’ third straight state championship.
     Sophomore Savanna Holmes hurled the complete-game championship game victory allowing nine hits, two runs and striking out four to get the win.  Harley Stokes slammed a two-run homer in the bottom of the third to spark a five-run inning as Coach Lori Wyatt’s team took control 5-0.
    The Wildcats got seven hits off Pisgah pitchers Stephanie Schoonover and Leigha Kirby with junior Charlsey Payne collecting two RBIs and one hit. Madalynn Langham also had a double and single for Hale County.
    Pisgah got two hits each from Hannahstaysia Weaver, Macy Anderson and Kennedy Barron. Annie Hughes also had a single and RBI for the Coach Billy Duncan’s Eagles have won eight state titles with the last one coming in 2013 – the year before Hale County started its current run.
   Hale County met Pisgah in the first round of the state tournament winning 4-0. The Wildcats also beat Slocomb (7-2) and Dale County (9-2) to set up the final win over the Eagles.
    Pisgah won four straight games in the loser’s bracket to reach the finals. The Eagles had wins over Oakman, Plainview, Prattville Christian and Dale County.

Class 2A Softball Championships Sumiton Christian Wins State Crown over Ider

MONTGOMERY – Class 2A State Tournament MVP Kamree Lay scattered five hits and struck out six in a 9-3 win over Ider to lead Sumiton Christian to the AHSAA Class 2A State Softball championship at Lagoon Park Friday night.
    The Eagles, coached by Jessica Aderholt, went 4-0 in the 2016 State Tourney at Montgomery beating G.W. Long (8-2), Mars Hill Bible (9-6 in 11 innings), Ider (5-2 in eight innings) and finally the 9-3 victory over the Hornets in the championship game.
     Ider, coached by David Hughes, beat Horseshoe Bend (9-1), Mobile Christian (3-1) and G.W. Long (2-1) to set up the finals.
     Sumiton Christian pounded 14 hits with Lay going 4-for-4 with a run scored and two RBIs. Holly Murray and Abbie Brewster each had two hits, Jenna Ergle had two doubles and Savannah Langston had two hits.
     Shelby Hawkins had two hits, losing pitcher Kayla Norman had an RBI single, Kaylan Brown drove in two runs and Morgan Flynn had a double for Ider.
     The state title was the third for Sumiton Christian, winning in 2010 and 2015.
     Named to the Class 2A All-Tourney Team were: Kamree Lay, Sumiton Christian (MVP); Jenna Ergle, Kendell Beth Sides and Holly Murray, Sumiton Christian; MaKenzie Hughes, Kayla Norman, Crystal McElhaney and Shelby Hawkins, Ider; Lohgan Cripple, G.W. Long; Abbi Gooch, Mars Hill Bible; and Kennedy Ward, Mobile Christian.

Class 6A State Championship Series Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa Beats Cullman 1-0 To Capture 6A State Baseball Championship

     MONTGOMERY –  Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa junior shortstop Cole Frederick found himself at the plate with the bases loaded and the game tied in the bottom of the seventh inning of Friday’s first game of the AHSAA Class 6A State Baseball Championship Series and delivered the game-winning hit as the Patriots of Coach Mark Garner won game one of the best-of-three series 4-3  versus defending state champion Cullman.
     Saturday afternoon, he found himself on the mound in the bottom of the seventh with his team clinging to a 1-0 lead and runners on second and third with the two outs and the Bearcats’ best hitter Owen Lovell at the plate.
     Lovell slammed a deep fly to center field which Jake Presley hauled in for the third out and Hillcrest (40-10) won its first state title since 2007 with the 1-0 win to sweep the series 2-0.
     Frederick, who played shortstop for five innings as starter and winning pitcher Noah Barnette (7-2) struck out one, walked two and limited the Bearcats’ tough lineup to four singles and no runs, pitched the final two innings allowing one hit, walking two and striking out two to get the save. Frederick earned 6A Series MVP for his effort.
     Cullman (40-13) got an outstanding pitching effort from starter Will Morrison (8-3), who hurled 6 1/3 innings, allowed four hits, one unearned run and struck out six. He yielded the game’s only run in the top of the sixth when Tyler Turner singled for Hillcrest’s first hit off the Cullman pitcher. Tyler moved all the way to third when Morrison’s pick-off attempt got by his first baseman. Turner then scored on Blake Robbins reached safely on a throwing error.
      Hillcrest loaded the bases in the seventh and Coach Brent Patterson brought in reliever Levi Thomas, who faced one batter getting the Patriots’ hitter to ground into an inning-ending double play.
   Turner, Pope, pinch hitter Michael Garner and Presley each had singles for the Patriots.
   Noah Fondren had two hits, Lovell, Trent Price and Jacob Heatherly had one each for the Bearcats.
   The 6A championship closed out the 2016 AHSAA Baseball Championships as Decatur Heritage (1A), Mobile Christian (2A), Madison Academy (3A), UMS-Wright (4A), Russellville (5A) and Hewitt-Trussville (7A) also won state titles this week.