Hartselle stamps its tickets for Montgomery
Justin Schuver, Hartselle Enquirer
After the fourth inning of Game 2, with his team still locked in a scoreless tie, Hartselle coach Shane Alexander told his team in the dugout, "One run is going to win this game. (Starting pitcher) Breanna (Segars) is pitching lights out. We'll only need one run."
Just to make sure, the Lady Tigers gave their coach two, as Hartselle (39-18) shutout Boaz 2-0 Saturday at Grady and Margie Long Park to sweep the Lady Pirates and advance to the state tournament in Montgomery beginning today at 10:30 a.m. against Oxford. Hartselle won Game 1 by a 5-1 score, with Segars picking up the win on the mound in that contest as well.
"Breanna was phenomenal today," Alexander said. "I was trying to decide if I wanted to pitch her in Game 2 or save her for Game 3. I asked her how her gas tank was after Game 1 and she said she was on full, so we kept with her.
"She really carried us today."
Segars, a junior whose record improved to 21-9, pitched all 14 innings, allowing just four hits and one unearned run. At one point in Game 2, she retired 18 straight Boaz batters.
"I just knew that we really wanted these games, so I went out there and pitched my hardest," Segars said.
The Lady Tigers advanced to the state tournament for the second time in Alexander's four-year tenure. After winning the Class 5A title in 2003, the Lady Tigers were knocked out in sub-state by Buckhorn the next two seasons. Hartselle swept Buckhorn in the first round of sub-state this year.
"Getting past Buckhorn was big for us mentally," Alexander said. "Now that we're back to Montgomery, anything can happen."
The Lady Tigers' bats were kept in check for much of the game against Boaz starter Holly Hill, but they took advantage of a costly Boaz error in the top of the fifth inning to finish the sweep.
With one out, Ashley Womack hit a hard groundball to Boaz shortstop Megan Adams. Adams bobbled the play and Womack reached safely, then moved to second base on Mary Curtis' sacrifice bunt.
Kristy Pevahouse then blooped an RBI single into right field to score Womack. Pevahouse scored one batter later when Catie Keel picked up an RBI on a double to right. Keel was picked off in the third inning but avenged herself with the RBI. She also had a nice defensive play in the bottom of the fifth inning, robbing Meg Smith of a single when Smith's ball dropped into right field but Keel charged it and still managed to throw her out at first base.
"Catie was big hitting for us," Alexander said. "I mean, the littlest person on my team had four or five hits today, and in clutch situations. And she's been that way all year. I think she's battling around .400 for us. I was a little tough on her (after the pickoff play), but she bounced back and it was good to see that."
Hartselle scored three runs in the bottom of the third and two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to take the victory in Game 1.
Pevahouse and Keel each had two RBIs and scored a run. Shanice Johnson had an RBI single and Segars, Shauna Clemons and Haley Miller each scored a run.
Keel had a strong performance at the plate, finishing 3-for-4 in the game.