As the high school softball season enters its final week, only two local teams are still standing.
Beulah and Tallassee are the only area schools still in contention for championships as the AHSAA’s state tournaments begin this week at Choccolocco Park in Oxford. Tallassee starts its play Tuesday with a 9 a.m. showdown with Ardmore, while Beulah’s first game comes Friday with a 10:45 a.m. meeting with Houston Academy.
Tallassee was one of the top-ranked teams in Class 5A last year before the season ended due to the pandemic. The Lady Tigers have kept up their well-renowned play this season and enter the tournament after some dramatic victories at regionals.
Tallassee took care of business early on in regionals with an 8-1 victory over Marbury and a 5-4 win over Demopolis before the team’s showdown against Brewbaker Tech really took things up a notch.
The Lady Tigers trailed 4-0 until the sixth inning when Chloe Baynes delivered a bunt single to score Ella Thrash and Chloe Davidson brought Baynes home on an RBI groundout. Tallassee cut the Brewbaker Tech lead to one in the bottom of the seventh when Baynes came up clutch again, this time hitting a walk-off two-RBI single with two outs to hand Tallassee a 5-4 victory.
Tallassee will face an Ardmore team that beat Russellville 10-1 and Corner 8-4, lost to Hayden 12-0 then beat Corner 4-3 to reach the state tournament.
Like Tallassee, Beulah had its share of big battles leading up to the state tournament.
Beulah began the regional tournament with a 10-0 victory over Walter Wellborn and a 2-1 victory over Pleasant Valley before facing Piedmont with a spot at state on the line.
Beulah and Piedmont found themselves in a low-scoring showdown, but the Lady Bobcats got the upper hand thanks to pitcher Katie Morris. Morris not only pitched a no-hitter but also came up big at the plate by driving home the game’s only run with a fourth-inning sacrifice fly that proved to be the difference in the game.
Morris ended the game with no hits, two walks and 12 strikeouts in seven innings of work in the circle.
Beulah faces a Houston Academy team that beat Opp 5-1, lost to Mobile Christian 8-0 then beat Opp 7-5 in 12 innings.
Each AHSAA classification’s state tournament features a double-elimination bracket that will be contested over a two-day period. All teams in both the winner’s and loser’s brackets play three games during the first day their classification is in action.
The lone undefeated team in the winner’s bracket moves on to the championship game the following day while the other teams fight to keep their title hopes alive.