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Hartselle Enquirer

Third-place Tigers

By Staff
Hartselle falls 1-0 to Mortimer Jordan in state semis; improves on 23-24 mark in '05
Justin Schuver, Hartselle Enquirer
MONTGOMERY – The Lady Tigers had two of the three ingredients to be a state champion. They had the pitching – allowing just three runs in their five games – and they had the defense.
But ultimately it was a lack of offense that would keep Hartselle from its fourth state title. The Lady Tigers managed just one run in their two losses at Montgomery's Lagoon Park Complex; both were one-run defeats to eventual state runner-up Mortimer Jordan.
"We're not going to outscore anybody or out-hit anybody," Hartselle coach Shane Alexander said following his team's 1-0 loss to Mortimer Jordan in the finals of the losers' bracket Friday afternoon. "We made one more mistake than they did, and that was the difference in the game."
Despite his team coming up short in its quest for the state title, Alexander said he was proud of a Lady Tigers team who finished with 41 wins after finishing 2005 with a record of 23-24.
"Our goal was just to get here," he said. "To get this far, I think you can say we overachieved. We had great senior leadership and there were youngsters at times who stepped up big for us. These girls are holding their heads up and they're going to walk out of this park proud.
"They represented Hartselle well."
Losers' bracket final
Mortimer Jordan 1
Hartselle 0
Mortimer Jordan's Shelbey Faucett scored the go-ahead run in the fifth inning on a RBI single by the Lady Devils' Kayla Cox. That would be all the Lady Devils would need to knock Hartselle out of the state tournament.
"(Jordan) is like us," Alexander said. "They're good defensively. I felt if we played our game and did the things we're supposed to do, then we had a good chance, but we came up short."
Hartselle starter Mary Curtis wriggled free of a bases-loaded jam in that fifth inning to keep the score close. After loading the bases with no outs following Cox's RBI single, Curtis induced two force-outs at the plate and got Lindsey Hill to pop out to shortstop to end the threat.
But in a trend that proved a lasting theme throughout the state tournament, Hartselle's bats were cold against Mortimer Jordan pitchers Brandy Worden and Michelle Cheatwood. The Lady Tigers stranded the tying run at second base in both the sixth and seventh innings.
Curtis pitched well for Hartselle, scattering four hits and striking out two, but took the loss. The Lady Tigers managed just three hits in the game, with Curtis, Kristy Pevahouse and Shanice Johnson each hitting singles.
Mortimer Jordan advanced to the championship game, where it lost to Hueytown 10-0 in six innings. Hueytown won its second straight state title.
Losers' bracket semifinal
Hartselle 4
Oxford 0
Strong pitching from Breanna Segars sandwiched between two runs in the first and sixth innings proved a winning formula to allow Hartselle to advance to the state semifinals.
"I was a little concerned about playing early after a tough game last night against Huntsville," said Alexander, whose team started play at 9 a.m. Friday morning. "It was important for us to get out to that early lead. I was a little concerned we didn't get much offense in the middle of that game, but the home run at the end was huge."
Kayla Orr's two-run home run in the sixth inning gave the Lady Tigers some breathing room. Shanice Johnson led off with a home run and pinch runner Whitney Fulmer came home to score one batter later on Orr's deep blast to left field.
Hartselle took a 2-0 lead early in the game with clutch hitting. Pevahouse led off the bottom of the first with a single, then moved to second on Catie Keel's sacrifice bunt. Johnson followed with an RBI double to score Keel and two batters later Fulmer, pinch running for Johnson, came home to score on Lindsay Robinson's RBI single.
Segars pitched well once again for Hartselle, continuing her streak of shutouts with her third of the tournament. She allowed four hits and struck out four.
Losers' bracket quarterfinal
Hartselle 1
Huntsville 0
A pair of pitchers got the job done for Hartselle, although their heroics came at the plate rather than on the mound.
Curtis' RBI single scored Segars from second base to give the Lady Tigers the only run they would need in the bottom of the seventh inning as Hartselle staved off elimination with a dramatic victory late Thursday evening.
"From here on out you're going to see great pitching," Alexander said. "(Huntsville starter Alex Lewis) is as good as anybody here. I knew we'd only get a few opportunities to score against her, but we got one more in the seventh and were able to take advantage of it."
Segars, who also picked up the win with her second shutout of the tournament, hit a single with one out and moved to second on Haley Miller's sacrifice bunt before coming home to score on Curtis' hit.
Before the seventh inning, the Lady Tigers had managed just three hits off Lewis. They squandered a chance to score in both the first and sixth innings as they stranded runners on third base with one out in each inning.
But Curtis made up for those earlier missed opportunities and was swarmed by her teammates as she crossed first base right in front of the Lady Tigers' home dugout.
Winners' bracket quarterfinal
Mortimer Jordan 2
Hartselle 1
Orr's home run in the sixth inning gave the Lady Tigers an early one-run lead but Mortimer Jordan stayed resilient with runs in the bottom of the sixth and seventh innings to drop Hartselle to the losers' bracket Thursday afternoon.
"You see the best of the best at this level," Alexander said. "You're not going to see too many blowouts once you get to this point of the season."
Lady Tigers starting pitcher Mary Curtis took the loss, despite not allowing an earned run. Hartselle had three errors in the last two innings of the game which proved costly as Mortimer Jordan took advantage of those mistakes.
"We haven't made those kinds of defensive mistakes all year," Alexander said. "That was surprising to see from this team."
Mortimer Jordan's game-winning run came with two outs in the seventh inning. Curtis hit Elizabeth Mann with a pitch. Cox followed with a groundball that eluded the Hartselle infield and got behind the Hartselle outfielders as well. There was a close play at the plate but Robinson could not hang onto the relay throw as Ali Anderson, pinch running for Mann, scored the winning run.
Winners' bracket first round
Hartselle 2
Oxford 0
Despite managing just four hits off Oxford starter Leslie Pickette, the Lady Tigers scored enough runs to move on in the winners' bracket at the opening game of the state tournament Thursday.
"I was worried that we might have some first-game jitters," Alexander said. "We capitalized on their mistakes and they didn't capitalize on ours."
Segars allowed five hits to the Oxford offense and struck out one to pick up the win. She also had an RBI single to score Hartselle's first run.
Segars' single scored Audrey McClanahan, who was pinch running for Robinson. Robinson reached on a walk and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Whitley Collins before coming home to score.
In the fifth inning, Shauna Clemons hit a one-out single and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Curtis. Clemons came home to score one out later when Kristy Pevahouse's fly ball to right field was dropped by Oxford's Stevie Bennett.
The Lady Tigers had two sacrifice bunts in the game and each resulted in an eventual run.
"We've been preaching this all year," Alexander said. "You've got to bunt and play smallball down here. The infield is like concrete and a groundball can be enough to win a ballgame or two at these fields."