The final at-bat for Woodland senior Jaeden Herring on her home field will be one that she will most certainly remember for the rest of her life.
Herring hit a two-run walkoff home run to send Woodland to a 13-3 win over Wadley and give the Lady Bobcats their second straight area championship.
Herring is one of two Woodland seniors who were playing their final game in Woodland, and because of Herring’s dramatic blast, their final season will continue in the East Regional in Albertville starting Thursday.
It’s the second straight season that Woodland has advanced to a regional. That can also be said for Wadley, which finished as the area runner-up to Woodland and will also be playing in Albertville later this week.
Woodland and Wadley both had little trouble eliminating Winterboro and Talladega County Central from the 1A, Area 8 tournament. By the time Wednesday rolled around it was clear that the two Randolph County schools would be the top two teams to emerge and advance.
Wadley lost both of its regular season games to Woodland, but they kept the first meeting in the tournament close Wednesday before ultimately falling 4-0.
Railey Williams carried a perfect game into the fifth inning after she retired the first 14 Wadley hitters in order. Payton Calhoun ended that streak with a two-out single in the fifth, but Wadley’s only other hit in the game – and only other baserunner – came via a leadoff single by Cailin Birdsong in the sixth.
Woodland scored two runs in the bottom of the first on RBI hits by Ella Waites and Julianna Lovvorn, then added two more in the second on a two-run single by McKenzie McCormick. And that was the end of the scoring for either team.
Calhoun, who went the distance in the circle for Wadley, scattered five hits the rest of the way and stranded six runners on base. But the damage was done and the Wadley offense had no answer for Williams.
McCormick went 3-for-4 with two RBI, and Waites and Taylor Wilson added two hits apiece to set the pace offensively for Woodland.
Williams finished with nine strikeouts and Woodland did not commit an error in the game.
Woodland 13, Wadley 3
McKenzie McCormick had eight strikeouts through the first nine outs, and Woodland led 7-0 after three innings on its way to the 13-3 win that gave them the area championship.
Julianna Lovvorn hit a two-run home run in the third, and Jaeden Herring finished 3-for-4 at the plate with the walk-off home run and three runs scored.
McCormick added a pair of two-run triples, and Taylor Wilson and Railey Williams each drove in two runs in all-around solid offensive performance by the Lady Bobcats.
Wadley broke through for three runs in the fifth against McCormick. A’Mya Brown doubled and came around to score, and Cailin Birdsong and Navaeh Vigh had RBI in the inning.
Wadley will open regional play Thursday in Albertville against Appalachian at 9 a.m. Woodland will take on Victory Christian, also at 9 a.m., in its first round game in the regional Thursday.