Each of the three county schools made it to the second day of their respective regional tournaments at Lagoon Park in Montgomery last week, but all three were eliminated before getting a shot to advance to state.
Woodland had the best showing, going 2-2 and taking Ragland to extra innings before being ousted in a 19-11 loss to the Purple Devils.
RCHS won its first game in the 2A tournament and lost its next two, including an 8-1 defeat at the hands of eventual state qualifier Spring Garden.
Wadley, which came into the tournament as one of the bigger underdogs in the 1A bracket, put a scare into Ragland in its first game and then bounced back to win its second game against Victory Christian.
Here’s how the regional went for all three teams, including a county vs. county showdown on day two of the 1A tournament.
W 18-5 vs. Jacksonville Christian
L 8-2 vs. Appalachian
W 12-0 vs. Wadley
L 19-11 vs. Ragland
• Madison Mitchell was virtually unstoppable at the plate as she went 12-for-15 with a home run and three RBI and finished her senior season with a team-best .557 batting average.
• Josie Cross went 5-for-11 in the tournament with four RBI and got the win in the circle in the opening game against Jacksonville Christian. The senior went 2.1 innings and allowed one run on two hits while striking out four.
• McKenzie McCormick went 10-for-18 with two home runs and six RBI in the four games in the tournament and finished her season with a .534 batting average, a 1.624 OPS, 12 home runs and 48 RBI.
• Taylor Wilson was 9-for-13 in the tournament, including a 5-for-5, two double performance in the finale against Ragland. Wilson hit safely in 11 of her final 12 games of the season and raised her average from .259 to .376 over that stretch.
• Kaleigh Crenshaw was 8-for-12 with three doubles and three RBI in the tournament.
Coming up next: Mitchell and Cross are the only two seniors on this team, and they will be missed. They were two of the top four hitters in the Woodland lineup and combined to pitch over half of Woodland’s innings this season. But two juniors ( Jaeden Herring and Chloe Chappell), as well as four core sophomores (McCormick, Crenshaw,
Leah Williamson and Julianna Lovvorn) will return along with the freshman Wilson. Woodland got a taste of the intensity of regional playoff softball this year, and they will almost certainly be back for another shot at it next year. Woodland finishes its season with a record of 25-18-2.
L 13-4 vs. Ragland
W 4-0 vs. Victory Christian
L 12-0 vs. Woodland
• Kendal Patterson went 4-for-8 with a double, an RBI and two runs scored in her team’s three tournament games.
• Melody Jordan had just two hits in the tournament, but one was a two-run single in the first inning of the opener against Ragland and the other was a base hit that was part of the deciding four-run rally in Wadley’s win over Victory Christian.
• Katie Ward played a vital role in Wadley’s only win of the tournament. She got her only hit of the week in that game, a bases-loaded triple that scored three runs and proved to be the difference in the game. She also pitched a complete game shutout in that contest, allowing just four hits and one walk while striking out six. She also showed admirable endurance as she pitched all 17 innings of Wadley’s tournament run.
Coming up next: Patterson is the only senior on this Wadley team, and their performance in the tournament showed that they have some players (Ward, Cailin Birdsong, Jordan, Makenzie Gilliland, among others) that should make Wadley a mainstay in the regional for years to come. Wadley finishes its season with a record of 7-12.
W 10-0 vs. Fayetteville
L 8-1 vs. Spring Garden
L 5-2 vs. Locust Fork
• Talee Sims hit a home run in her first at-bat of the regional and finished 3-for-7 with a double and two RBI for the tournament. The freshman finished the season as the county leader with 13 home runs and 72 RBI, to go along with a .525 batting average and 1.647 OPS.
• Kaitie Overton was 5-for-10 with a double and two RBI for the tournament.
• Brantlee Wortham went 3-for-9 with two double and two RBI in the three tournament games and finished her freshman season at .488 with seven home runs and 46 RBI.
• Senior Kamren Bivins, who entered the tournament in an 0-for-18 slump at the plate, had a hit in all three games, scored twice and drove one run home to set the table as the team’s leadoff hitter.
• Lexi Key had just one hit in the three games for RCHS, but she drove in three runs and pitched two very good games to bookend the Lady Tigers’ tournament stay. She got the win in the opener against Fayetteville, pitching six shutout innings and allowing four hits while striking out six. She went the distance in the elimination loss to Locust Fork but allowed just three earned runs and gave her team a chance to win. For her freshman season Key pitched in 39 of her team’s 47 games and posted a 22-12 record and a 3.40 ERA.
Coming up next: RCHS also loses just two seniors – Bivins and starting second baseman Emma Prestridge. But the vast majority of this year’s starting lineup is young, as Overton will be the only returning senior next year. The freshman core of Key, Sims and Wortham has the potential to be the backbone of some very good RCHS teams in the coming years. RCHS finishes the season with a record of 28-19.