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Lady Tigers ousted in regional tourney

Hartselle High School’s Lady Tigers (36-15) won their opening round game before dropping two straight and being eliminated in the Class 5A North Regional Softball Tournament in Huntsville on Saturday.

Fort Payne denied the Lady Tigers a fifth straight trip to the final eight when they staged a 3-2 win on a pair of home runs. But the outcome was not a result of the Lady Tigers not giving it their best shot in the first round loser’s bracket contest.

“We all worked so hard to beat Fort Payne and we fought to the end,” said senior Olivia Golden. “I loved playing with these girls. I don’t think I’ll ever find another team that is as much fun to play with.”

Hartselle trailed the winners 2-0 after four innings but bounced back in its half of the fifth inning to tie the score at 2-all. Fort Payne scored the deciding run in the sixth inning.

Golden paced Hartselle at the plate with a pair of doubles. Baylee Holt had a double and Ashley Boggs, Emily Nix and Jada Hayes each added a single.

Kayla Faulk was the losing pitcher, allowing six hits while striking out six batters and walking one.

The Lady Tigers were knocked out of the winner’s bracket by Athens 3-0 in a Friday night game. The Lady Golden Eagles scored single runs in the first, second and fifth innings while the Lady Tigers were limited to four hits.

Golden, Allie Hill, Holt and Nix each had a single.

Hayes was the losing pitcher. She allowed five hits while striking out one batter and giving up three walks.

The Lady Tigers plated six runs in the first inning and went on to trounce Columbia (Huntsville) 11-1 in an opening round tournament game on Friday.

Hartselle hitters were Leah Stephenson with a pair of doubles, Maddie Sittason tripled and singled, Faulk had a home run, Hill doubled, Sarah Ellen Battles had a pair of singles, Hill doubled and Golden singled.

Faulk was the winning pitcher. She allowed one run on two hits while striking out four batters and walking two in the five-inning game.

Head Coach Robin Riley complimented her team for working hard and achieving a high level of success throughout the season and challenged returning players to continue to set high goals and work hard to achieve them.

“They fought their hearts out at regionals and you can’t ask players to do more than that,” she pointed out.

Hartselle is losing only three senior players and will have several talented junior varsity players to step up and fill those next season.

“I think the girls that are coming back will be fine,” said Golden, who signed with Mississippi State the day before regionals began. “They have enough talent to do well.”

Hill, a senior, said what she will take from her senior season is a close bond of friendship with the other girls on the team.

“I love everyone of them,” she said. “My goal is to work hard next year at the college level to become a better player and help my team win.”

Senior Emily Nix said, “The closeness we’ve had this year has been great. We were fighters the whole time. We never gave up.”