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Seventh-inning comeback propels Lady Tigers to area championship

The Hartselle Lady Tigers used a seventh-inning comeback to propel them to the 6A Area 14 championship this past weekend. With the win, the Lady Tigers advance to the North Regional in Florence this week. 

The Lady Tigers were playing Cullman for the second time in the tournament; Cullman won the first meeting 6-3.  

The Tigers found themselves trailing by seven, 9-2, with three outs remaining. In their previous 13 innings against Cullman’s Chalea Clemmons, they had scored five runs and had seven hits. 

Kaelyn Jones started the inning with a bunt single. Lillyanna Cartee followed with a two-run home run to cut the lead to 9-4.  

Jada Henderson’s bunt gave the Lady Tigers a runner at first. Karsi Lentz then walked to put runners at first and second.  

Hartselle then loaded the bases after Mary Elizabeth Booth was hit by a pitch.  

Henderson and Lentz would score on two consecutive wild pitches that moved Booth to third. She would score on a Cullman error that allowed Emily Hall to reach base to make it 9-7. After another walk, the Lady Tigers had two runners on base. 

Hartselle was down to a final out after Larissa Preuitt struck out with runners at first and third. Jones, batting for the second time in the inning, singled to bring home Hall from third.  

The Lady Tigers loaded the bases after Cartee was hit by a pitch.  

On the next pitch, Henderson doubled to center field to bring home Emma Parker and Jones to give Hartselle its first lead of the game, 10-9. 

Cullman tied the game in the bottom of the seventh to make the score 10-10. 

After a scoreless eighth inning, the Lady Tigers took the lead for good when Preuitt, who had tripled to lead off the inning, scored on Jones’ third hit of the game.  

After a Jones’ steal and a Henderson walk, Hartselle had runners at first and second. Lentz’s single to left field brought home Jones for a 12-10 lead.  

Brantley Drake’s single to left loaded the bases for the Lady Tigers. Henderson scored on a Cullman error to give Hartselle a 13-10 lead. 

The Lady Bearcats scored one in the bottom of the ninth, but it wasn’t enough, as the Lady Tigers held on for the win and forced a second game to decide the championship. 

The Lady Tigers took the field for their fourth straight game as the clock read 10:45 p.m. They took command of the tournament’s final game with 10 runs in the top of the first inning.  

They would go on to score six more runs and defeat Cullman 16-5 in a game that was suspended at 12:25 a.m. and finished in less than 10 minutes Saturday morning. 

Earlier in the tournament, the Lady Tigers defeated Decatur 5-0 behind 15 strikeouts from Jenna Smith. After losing to Cullman, Hartselle bounced backed with an 11-5 win over Muscle Shoals behind Lentz’s two home runs and seven RBIs. 

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