After early stumble, Hartselle girls win 5A crown
The Hartselle Lady Tigers won their second state championship in three years Saturday, sweeping the Robertsdale Lady Golden Bears, 6-1 and 1-0 in the championship series.
After an opening-game loss to Robertsdale on Thursday, Hartselle played their way through the losers' bracket to set up a re-match in the first championship game.
Along the way senior pitcher Lindsay McClanahan earned tournament 5A Most Valuable Player honors and set a career and school pitching record with 57 wins.
Joining her on the All-tournament team were teammates Jessica Lyle, Ashley Jackson and Rachel Carden.
The team set a new school record with 50 wins against 7 losses for the year.
Defense was the name of the deciding game with Hartselle getting the run they needed when Regan Sandlin drilled a line drive that bounced off the Robertsdale shortstop's glove and dribbled into the outfield, scoring Rachel Carden.
That took place in the second inning and from there neither team yielded a run.
Robertsdale's best chance at upsetting the Lady Tigers' title hopes came in the first inning when McClanahan faced a bases-loaded situation with two outs.
She struck out the next batter to get out of the pinch. McClanahan struck out a total of four, while walking one and giving up four hits.
Robertsdale's Amber Whitworth threw a three-hitter for the Golden Bears.
Hartselle collected only two hits in the win. Sabrina Roberts joined Sandlin in connecting for singles.
Ashley Jackson ended the game when she threw Robertsdale's Mallory James out at first. Jackson fielded James' hit that split first and second, and made the throw to first for the routine out.
The Lady Tigers had payback on their mind when they took the field for the first championship game.
After a pair of scoreless innings, Hartselle broke the game open with four runs including a pair of yard trips.
Sandlin clipped a solo yard trip, her third of the year, to put Hartselle on the board. Anna Corum followed with a two-run homer, giving her 10 for the year and tying Katie Tillman and Lori Westberg for the school single-season record. Jessica Lawrimore brought in the fourth run with a sacrifice fly.
The Lady Tigers added lone runs in the fourth and sixth innings to seal the win. Robertsdale avoided the shutout with a run in the top of the seventh.
Jessica Lyle got the win with five scoreless innings. She allowed only three hits, four walks and struck out four before turning the circle over to Sabrina Roberts.
Roberts got the save, but allowed the Robertsdale run on two hits with one strikeout.
Ashley McKenzie took the loss for the Lady Bears.
Hartselle hammered McKenzie and crew for a total of 14 hits.
In addition to her homer, Corum also connected for a base hit. Lyle doubled and base hit twice. McClanahan connected for a two-bagger and one single. Carden ripped two singles. Jackson, Anna Byrd, Rachel McAbee, Lawrimore and Sandlin finished out the Hartselle hitting with base hits.