Hartselle softballers take section tourney
Nick Johnston, Hartselle Enquirer
MUSCLE SHOALS – Hartselle picked the right time to win its first tournament of the season.
The Lady Tigers outscored their opponents 16-1 in the Class 5A, Section Tournament and won the crown by beating Brewer 7-1.
"We just had tremendous pitching and great defense," first year head coach Shane Alexander said. "I can't say enough about our pitchers. We have three tremendous pitchers and we hit the ball real well."
The Hartselle pitching staff, consisting of Jessica Lyle, J.J. Lawrimore and Sabrina Roberts, combined to allow just one run on 10 hits. The trio also struck out 25 batters.
Now, Hartselle will host Buckhorn. A team it breezed by earlier in the season with an
See CHAMPS, B-4
8-1 win. The best-of-three series will begin at 3 p.m. Saturday and another game will follow. If needed, game 3 will be played at 7 p.m.
According to Alexander, every game the Lady Tigers have played this season has prepared them for Saturday and hopefully, games to come.
"I think we had the toughest schedule in the state," he said. With the tough schedule, the Lady Tigers still have managed a 39-15 record with a No. 2 ranking in the state. "Our losses came against ranked teams in 6A like Grissom, Clay Chalkville and Hoover. We've seen the best teams in Tennessee and Alabama."
The Lady Tigers played in two tournaments in Tennessee against some of the state's best teams.
Before the section tournament began last Friday, Hartselle beat two defending state champs. The Lady Tigers beat Pisgah, Class 2A two-time defending champions, and Hoover in their final two regular season games.
Hartselle 7, Bradshaw 0
Jessica Lyle and J.J. Lawrimore combined for a three-hitter, as Bradshaw had trouble advancing past second base all day.
Lawrimore and Anna Byrd each went 2 for 3 with two runs scored, a double and a RBI apiece.
Regan Sandlin went 1 for 3 and also scored a run. She had a RBI triple.
Both Lawrimore and Lyle struck out six batters each.
Hartselle 3, Athens 0
Seventh-ranked Athens could do nothing with Hartselle pitcher Sabrina Roberts.
Roberts allowed just two hits and struck out five in a complete game effort for the win.
"Sabrina, she's the bulldog," Alexander said. "She was the usual Sabrina in the tournament. She keeps us in every game."
Jessica Lyle's home run in the first inning provided the difference. She went 2 for 3 with a run scored and two RBIs despite an injured ankle. Alexander said "a couple of days rest and she will be fine."
Hartselle 9, Brewer 0
Sophomore Sarah Whitlow went 2 for 4, scored two runs and had an RBI to lead the Lady Tigers past Brewer.
J.J. Lawrimore earned the win, giving up no runs on four hits and striking out four.
Ashley Jackson went 2 for 4 with a run scored, while Ashley Wiseheart and Sabrina Roberts each had RBIs.
Hartselle 7, Brewer 1
Labeth Aycock ruined Hartselle's hopes of shutting out its section tournament opponents.
Aycock had a double and scored a run, but starting pitcher Sabrina Roberts kept the rest of the Lady Patriots in check for the win.
"I was a little disappointed giving up that one run," Alexander said laughing.
Roberts allowed one run on the one hit and struck out four to improve her individual record to 18-8.
At the plate, both J.J. Lawrimore and Regan Sandlin had a pair of hits and each scored twice. Alison Lyle had a hit and two RBIs, while Robin Halbrooks had one RBI.