Lady Tigers beat Buckhorn, advance to Montgomery for shot at another state title
Nick Johnston, Hartselle Enquirer
They may have taken them too lightly. Perhaps overlooked them.
Whatever the case, Hartselle was not ready for third-ranked Buckhorn in the first game of a three-game series Saturday and lost 3-1.
No worries, though, as the Hartselle Lady Tigers outscored Buckhorn 19-0 in games two and three and advanced to Montgomery for the Alabama State Softball Tournament Quarterfinals.
"Making it to Montgomery has been our goal all year," first year head coach Shane Alexander said. "I'm just glad our season wasn't cut short."
Hartselle, perhaps, is gaining the reputation as a powerhouse in softball. The Lady Tigers have been either state champions or runners up since 1998.
"There's no pressure on me at all," Alexander jokingly said. "This is an old habit for (the team). They realize, though, that nobody is going to give us that trophy … we have to earn it."
Hartselle will play Charles Henderson High School (Troy) at 12 p.m. Friday.
Buckhorn 3, Hartselle 1
The Lady Tigers left eight runners on base, and Buckhorn capitalized on three errors, as Hartselle (41-16) lost for the first time in seven outings.
"We had too many errors," Alexander said. "Anytime you have three errors, anybody can beat you. Especially the third ranked team in the state."
An error in the first inning allowed Nikki Malone on base. Two batters later, she gave Buckhorn (47-17) the lead by scoring on Haley Brandon's single.
Hartselle, though, was able to knot the contest at 1-all in the bottom of the frame. With two outs, Anna Byrd singled to left field and scored Robin Halbrooks from second.
Buckhorn regained a lead it would never relinquish in the sixth with its only earned run of the game. The Lady Bucks added an insurance run in the seventh due to an error in the infield.
Sabrina Roberts took the loss on the mound despite retiring the first 13 batters she faced. Roberts allowed all three runs, one earned, on seven hits and struck out five.
Kelsey Burns held the Lady Tigers to just five hits. Halbrooks had two of those with a run scored.
See LADY TIGERS, B-3
Hartselle 13, Buckhorn 0
Eleven runs in the fifth inning cut short this game.
Hartselle led 2-0 after the third inning, and exploded for 11 runs in the fifth.
Jessica Lyle kept Buckhorn's bats at bay and allowed just two hits. She struck out five.
J.J. Lawrimore, who went 3 for 4 with a RBI and two runs scored, plated Hartselle's first run of the game when Allison Lyle hit into a fielder's choice.
Lawrimore singled home Anna Byrd in the third as the Lady Tigers held a 2-0 lead.
In the fifth, senior Regan Sandlin hit a two-run double and two-run single. She ended the game going 3 for 4 with four RBIs and a run scored.
Hartselle chased Buckhorn starter Sam Landman during the inning. Landman allowed 10 runs on 10 hits in the loss.
Hartselle 6, Buckhorn 0
Jessica Lyle again could not be touched, as she pitched a complete-game shutout, scattering just three hits and striking out three.
Regan Sandlin's two RBI single in the first inning gave the Lady Tigers what proved to be an insurmountable lead. Lyle and Ashley Jackson scored on the play.
Robin Halbrooks scored on a wild pitch and Jackson scored on an error in the second to take a 4-0 advantage.
Lyle doubled home Jackson, who went 2 for 3 with three runs scored from the leadoff position, and J.J. Lawrimore sacrificed home Anna Byrd in the third inning for the game's final two runs.
Lyle went 2 for 4 with a RBI, while Byrd, Lawrimore and Sandlin each went 1 for 3.