Ponytails finish fourth at state tourney
Clif Knight, Hartselle Enquirer
Hartselle's Ponytail All-Stars finished fourth in state tournament competition at Fain Park in Montgomery last week after losing 2-1 to Montgomery American July 18. Earlier, they posted victories over Huntsville National and Eufaula before losing their first game to AUM Green, the host team.
Hartselle trailed 1-0 after two innings but fought back in the top of the fourth to tie the contest on an infield single by Chelsea Bennich, a stolen base, a wild pitch and a sacrifice bunt by Leah Robinson.
The Montgomery team went ahead to stay in the bottom of the fifth inning on a home run.
Bennich's single was Hartselle's only hit while Montgomery had only two hits.
Hartselle pitchers Meaghan Gray, Ashley Bonner and Katie Gentle combined to strike out eight Montgomery batters while walking none. Liz Taylor went all the way for the winners. She recorded seven strikeouts and allowed four walks.
AUM Green 1,
Hartselle's Ponytail All-Stars were still alive in the State Dixie League Girl's Softball Tournament at Fain Park in Montgomery Sunday night even though they lost 0-1 in extra innings to a highly regarded AUM Green team from Montgomery in the third round of play.
Both teams entered the contest as the only two undefeated teams left in the seven-team tournament. They battled to a scoreless tie through seven innings. Hartselle had runners in scoring position in the top of the seventh and eighth innings but were unable to score. AUM came up with the winning run in the bottom of the eighth on a one-out single with runners on second and third.
The loss dropped Hartselle to the loser's bracket with Pleasant Grove and Montgomery American. They were scheduled to meet the Montgomery-based team Monday at 6 p.m. with the winner of that game meeting AUM in the championship round Tuesday night.
Leah Robinson and Ashley Bonner each singled for Hartselle while AUM collected five hits, all singles.
Abby McHugh matched three AUM pitchers pitch for pitch through six innings. She allowed only two hits while striking out 10 and walking three.
Hartselle exploded for three runs in the top of the sixth inning to come from behind and defeat Eufaula 4-2 in a second round contest Saturday morning.
Pitcher Meaghan Gray knocked in the runs on a hard-hit liner up the middle with one out and the bases loaded. She was thrown out at third while trying to stretch a double into a triple but the damage had been done. Eufaula was unable to answer in the bottom of the inning as three batters went down on a pop fly and two strikeouts. Ashley Bonner, Joy Harris and Chelsea Bennich also had hits for Hartselle.
Gray survived a shaky first inning after giving up back-to-back singles, two walks and two runs.
She gave up only one other hit, a bunt single in the third, allowed no more walks and struck out 11 in six innings. Two of the three batters she faced in the bottom of the sixth went down on strikes.
Huntsville National 2
Hartselle overcame a 1-0 Huntsville National lead after one inning by scoring 14 runs over the next four innings and posting a 14-2 win in the opening round of the state championship tournament. Grace Cain and Bonner each collected three hits to pace the winners at the plate. Other Hartselle players getting hits were Gray, Byford, Bennich, Harris and McHugh.
Gray and Bonner each pitched two innings and Katie Gentle closed with one inning of work. They allowed only three hits while striking out 10 and walking two batters.