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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.

Class 7A State Baseball Championship Series Hewitt-Trussville Sweeps Auburn for 7A State Crown

     MONTGOMERY –  Hewitt-Trussville High School junior left-hander Cameron Furr (8-1) followed sophomore lefty Carson Skipper’s first-game shutout performance with one of his own Saturday as the Huskies won game two of the Class 7A State Baseball Championship Series 2-0 over Auburn at Riverwalk Stadium to claim the school’s first-ever state title.
      Furr allowed only four hits, walked none and struck out four while throwing just 78 pitches in the seven-inning win.  Skipper (11-2), who tossed a three-hitter in Friday night’s 6-0 first-game win, drove in Keegan Morrow in the third inning for Hewitt’s second run Saturday and gave Furr just enough  cushion to keep Auburn (32-13) off stride at the plate.
       Coach Jeff Mauldin’s Huskies (36-11) only managed five hits off Tigers starter Ryan Watson (5-1), who walked three and struck out four in five innings.  Leadoff hitter Tyler Tolbert and Morrow had two each. Tolbert opened the bottom of the first with a hit and scored on a fielder’s choice by Ed Johnson.
     Rowdy Jordan, Garrett Morris, Andrew Naismith and Noah Barnes each had singles for Coach Matt Cimo’s Tigers.
      Cullman and Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa close out the 2016 AHSAA Baseball Championships at Riverwalk Stadium Saturday afternoon with game to of the best-of-three series at 4 p.m.
      All games are being live-streamed  by the NFHS Network.

Class 6A State Championship Series Class 6A: Game 1 Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa 4, Cullman 3

     MONTGOMERY –  Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa rallied in the bottom of the seventh inning to beat Cullman 4-3 Friday night at Paterson Field in game one of the Class 6A State Baseball Championship Series. Game two moves to Riverwalk Stadium Saturday at 4 p.m. Game three will follow at approximately 7 p.m. if needed.
    Cullman (40-12) took a 2-0 lead into the bottom of the sixth inning, but Hillcrest tied the game to set up the exciting finish. Coach Brent Patterson’s Bearcats took the lead again 3-2 in the top of the seventh before Coach Mark Garner’s Patriots scored twice to win.
     Michael Garner pitched 6 1/3 innings allowing three hits and three runs for Hillcrest. Reliever Tyler Frederick (5-1) got the final two outs in the seventh to get the win in relief. He faced three batters and struck out one.
    Cullman’s Jacob Heatherly pitched six innings allowing four hits and striking out four. Carter Bowen and Levi Thomas pitched in the seventh. Bowen (5-4) got the loss.
      Blake Robbins had a single and two RBIs for the Patriots. Frederick also had a hit, scored a run and drew a crucial walk. Sage Bailey also had a hit and scored a run, and Walt Bailey had two hits.
     Kolby Robinson had three hits as leadoff hitter for Cullman. Ben Smith had a pinch-hit single and RBI.
    All games are being live-streamed over the NFHS Network.


Class 7A State Championship Series Class 7A: Game 1 Hewitt-Trussville 6, Auburn 0

     MONTGOMERY –  Hewitt-Trussville sophomore pitcher Carson Skipper pitched a three-hit shutout Friday afternoon at Paterson Field as the Huskies captured a 6-0 win over Auburn in game one of the Class 7A State Baseball Championship Series. Game two moves to Riverwalk Stadium Saturday morning at 10 a.m. Game three will follow at approximately 1 p.m. if needed.
     Skipper (11-2) walked none, struck out eight and threw only 86 pitches to get the victory for Coach Jeff Mauldin’s Huskies. Senior center fielder Keegan Morrow tripled in three runs to lead Hewitt-Trussville (35-11). Junior left fielder Grayson Cash also had one hit, one RBI and scored two runs. Jamison Stennis also slugged a double.
     Andrew Naismith (5-3) allowed two hits, walked four and struck out five in five innings to get the loss for Auburn (32-12). Tyler Rabren pitched the final two innings for Coach Matt Cimo’s  Tigers.  Morgan Brown had two hits for Auburn and Austin Triplett had the other hit.
     Cullman (40-11) and Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa (37-10) played the first game of the Class 6A series Friday night.
      The 6A series also moves to Riverwalk Stadium Saturday with game 2 at 4 p.m.
    All games are being live-streamed over the NFHS Network.

Class 5A State Championship Series Russellville beat Faith Academy Twice to Claim Title

    MONTGOMERY –  Senior left-hander Austin Bohannon (14-1) hurled a one-hitter in game 2 and senior right-hander Austin Kitterman (10-1) pitched a complete game in the game 3 as defending state champion Russellville beat Faith Academy 3-0 and 5-3 Friday to capture the Class 5A State Baseball Championship at Riverwalk Stadium.
    Faith Academy (36-6) won game one on Thursday night at Paterson field 9-1.
    Bohannon had a no-hitter until Brooks Carson tripled with two outs in the top of the sixth inning.  Bohannon finished with three walks and three strikeouts as he faced just 25 batters and threw only 94 pitches to get the shutout win.
    That set the stage for Kitterman, who suffered a life-threatening injury in a four-wheeler accident in 2014, pitched a gritty game in the finals allowing nine hits, striking out six and walking none. His head coach Chris Heaps said just having Kitterman’s presence on the team was “a miracle.”
     Kitterman threw 92 pitches to notch the 5-3 championship game win. 
     Landon Oliver had two hits and two RBIs – driving in two runs in the bottom of the first in game three to help Russellville (48-7) take a 3-0 lead. 
      Christopher Sargent’s two-run double in the top of the second cut the lead to 3-2 for Faith Academy (36-7), coached by Matt Seymour.  Will Freeman, who pitched game one win for the Rams, had a double and game-tyng RBI in the third.
     The Golden Tigers took the lead when Judd Ward, who had two hits, tripled and scored on a wild pitch in the fifth. The team added an insurance run on Colin Garrison’s single in the sixth.      Faith Academy pitcher Gabe Shepard (8-2) pitched all six innings for the Rams. He allowed eight hits, walked two and struck out five.
GAME 2:  Russellville 3, Faith Academy 0
     Bohannon’s pitching performance in game two kept the Golden Tigers’ championship hopes alive. He earned Class 5A State Championship Series MVP for his effort.
    Rams starter Reece Ewing (7-2) also had a no-hitter until the Golden Tigers bunched three hits together in the bottom of the fifth to plate two runs.  The big hit was a bases-loaded single by shortstop Reed Smith to plate pinch runner Tom Barkley and Landon Ezzell. Smith walked and scored in the first inning on a wild pitch to put Russellville up 1-0 early.
     Ewing went 4 1/3 innings allowing three hits, three runs and striking out three. Michael Morris hurled the final 1 1/3 innings for the Rams of Coach Mike Seymour.
     Russellville left just two runners on base. Smith also turned in two big plays defensively in game two and another in game 3.

Class 4A State Championship Series Class 4A: Game 2 UMS-Wright 4, Oneonta 1 (UMS-Wright wins state title)

     MONTGOMERY –  Senior right fielder Chauncey Callier slammed a two-run homer in the bottom of the third inning Friday to give UMS-Wright a 3-0 cushion and the Bulldogs closed out the AHSAA Class 4A State Baseball Championship Series with a 4-1 win over Oneonta to claim the state title at Riverwalk Stadium.
     Coach Kevin Raley’s Bulldogs (33-9) won 9-3 on Thursday afternoon at Paterson Field and swept the series as Callier, named the Class 4A Series MVP, drove in the three runs and also robbed one Redskins hitter of a sure double with a diving catch that helped defuse one Oneonta rally.  He also had one hit and drove in another run in the first game to finish with four RBIs.
     Winning pitcher Garrett Hollinghead (7-4) needed just 81 pitches to hurl a complete-game four hitter in Friday’s final game. He walked none and struck out three.
     Peyton Martin also drove in Sam Plash for UMS-Wright’s other run.  Tanner Allen had a single and double and scored two runs. He also went 2-for-3 on Thursday to score two more runs as the Bulldogs’ leadoff hitter to finish 4-of-6 with four runs scored for the series.
     Oneonta (30-12), coached by Brandon Moore, got a solid pitching performance from Dawson Harvey (8-2). Harvey allowed just six hits over six innings, walked none and struck out two while throwing just 82 pitches.
     Brody Moore had two hits for the Redskins, Harvey had a single and scored his team’s only run in the top of the fourth inning, and Zach Dimmock had one hit and drove in his teammate with a sacrifice fly.
     The championship was the ninth overall for UMS-Wright and the first during Raley’s coaching tenure.
      Russellville (46-7) and Faith Academy (36-5) square off in game 2 of the Class 5A Championship Series at 4 p.m. at Riverwalk.
     The Class 7A Championship Series featuring Hewitt-Trussville (34-11) and Auburn (32-11) is set for game one at 4 p.m. Friday at Paterson Field. The first game of the Class 6A Championship Series between Cullman (40-11) and Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa (37-10) will be at 7. The two series will move to Riverwalk Stadium Saturday with 7A at 10 a.m. and 6A at 4 p.m.
    All games are being live-streamed over the NFHS Network.