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Hartselle Enquirer

Despite title loss, Hartselle thankful for state experience 

By Caleb Suggs

For the Enquirer

OXFORD – Walking off the field of the state championship softball game in Oxford, it was a bittersweet feeling for Hartselle head coach Anna Hall.
On one hand, the Tigers had come up just short in their bid for their first state championship since 2018, losing to Athens 12-9.  On the other hand, it was an experience she said she’ll never forget.
“I’ve been to the state tournament as a assistant coach and player but that was always in Montgomery,” Hall said. “We were all experiencing Oxford for the first time together. The bus rides, the hotel stays, the games, it’s something I wouldn’t trade for anything.”
Hartselle needed to win three games Wednesday to win a state championship and nearly pulled off the incredible feat. The Tigers defeated Gardendale 5-23 and Athens in game one of the finals 18-8 before falling just shy of a title in game two.
“These girls never gave up,” Hall said. “It didn’t matter how many games we had to play, they never quit and even though we came up just short, as a coach there’s nothing that can make you prouder.”
Hartselle did its best to bring another title home. After falling behind 10-4, the Tigers cut the lead to 10-9. However, after a postseason filled with comebacks and big plays, Hartselle couldn’t find one more to finish the season with.
Hartselle head coach Anna Hall accepts the Class 6A state runner-up trophy.

 

Ryley Cate Wolf had three hits in the final game, including a home run, and finished with two RBIs. Brityan Godfrey finished with three hits.
The loss brings to a close a stellar first season for Hall who led the Tigers back to the state tournament for the first time since 2019. The bar has been set high for future seasons, but Hall said they have what it takes to meet expectations,
“It was nothing I did, this year was all these girls,” Hall said. “My expectations were high this year and they will be again next year, but with these girls, anything is possible.”

Hartselle 18, Athens 8: Hartselle’s offense exploded in game one of the Class 6A state championship as the Tigers outhit Athens 19-9.

Hartselle scored three runs in the second, five in the third, five in the sixth and three in the seventh.
KJ Prater led the way with five hits, while Brityan Godfrey had four hits and four RBIs and Katie Gillott had three hits and five RBIs.
Lily Lowery and Carly Ennis each had two hits and an RBI to lead Athens.
Hartselle head coach Anna Hall presents her saddened players with the state runner-up trophy after the Tigers were defeated by Athens 12-9 on Wednesday in the Class 6A state finals.
Hartselle 5, Gardendale 3: A week after delivering the game winning hit to win the Class 6A North Regional, Hartselle’s KJ Prater came up big again.
With teh game tied 3-3 in the seventh inning, Prater hit a two RBI triple to give the Tigers the lead and ultimately the win as she sent her team to the Class 6A state championship game.
“Coach (Anna) Hall just told me before I went to bat that I had it and all we needed was a base hit,” Prater said. “I guess (big hits) are kind of my thing now.”
Hartselle fell behind 3-0 in the first inning, but quickly tied the game in the second.
Prater led the team with two hits and two RBIs. Kaelyn Jones and Katie Gillott each had a hit and an RBI.

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