Runner-up will do
Andalusia and Thomasville earned a trip to play in the Class 4A South Regional softball tournament in Gulf Shores next weekend.
The Lady Bulldogs finished runner-up at the Class 4A, Area 3 tournament Thursday night, falling to Thomasville 8-3 in the winner’s bracket championship game.
“I thought we hit the ball well all day,” Andalusia coach Marcus Taylor said. “We didn’t always string together the runs when we hit the ball. When you hit the ball, you’ve always got a chance. I think that kind of helps us with our confidence in that we can hit and always come back.”
Thomasville and Andalusia knocked area opponents Hillcrest-Evergreen and Clarke County out of contention earlier Thursday.
Andalusia beat the Lady Jaguars 16-0 in four innings in its first game of the day, and Thomasville routed Clarke County 10-0.
In their second game of the day, the Lady Bulldogs met Thomasville, and fell 4-2, before defeating Clarke County in the elimination game 4-0. With Andalusia’s win over Clarke County, the Bulldogs earned a right to advance to the regional tournament.
Thomasville scored six runs in the first inning to help propel them to the area title over Andalusia.
Qwesha Evans and Savannah Smith scored on a double by Taylor Gilchrist; Shelly Myers and Gilchrist then scored on a double by Rachel Wright; the courtesy runner for Cassie Flint scored on an RBI from Kaley McManus; and Wright came in on an RBI from Lindsey Overstreet to end the scoring drive for the inning.
The Lady Bulldogs added one run in the bottom of the second on an RBI from Megan Pugh that scored Sam Greene.
Andalusia pitcher Abbie Young, who started the game, held Thomasville to no runs until the fourth inning, when the Lady Tigers scored on an RBI from Flint.
Andalusia added two runs on a single from Paige Caraway.
Thomasville sealed the win in the top of the seventh on an RBI from Myers that scored Evans.
Thomasville’s Lindsey Overstreet earned the win allowing one run on seven hits and had three strikeouts.
Clarke County 0
Andalusia overcame some adversity heading into the elimination game with Clarke County and earned its way to the regional tournament in the 4-0 win.
“This was the most important game when you came down to it with us going to Gulf Shores,” Taylor said. “We were still able to win. I think that’s what sets good teams apart from other teams.”
An RBI single from Greene started Andalusia’s scoring run in the first inning.
Later in the bottom of the third inning, Young hit a solo homer, and Pugh hit an RBI single to score Greene to give their team a 3-0 edge.
Winning pitcher Caraway struck out 12 to earn the win.
Caraway scored her team’s last run in the bottom of the fifth inning on a double from Greene.
Greene was 3-for-3 with two RBIs.
Andalusia had a 2-0 lead going into the sixth inning, but Thomasville bounced back to score four runs on one hit to get the win.
Andalusia’s Caraway scored in the fourth and Edmondson scored in the fifth.
The only way you can describe this game’s result Thursday would be to call it a beating.
Andalusia (25-13) scored seven runs in the first and seven in the fourth to start the day on a good note.
Young struck out two on no hits and no runs to earn the win for the Lady Bulldogs.
In the first inning, Andalusia’s seven runs came on a three-run home run from Caraway to start, and Kenna Edmondson and A.C. Riley both had RBIs.
Ellie Pollock later scored on a passed ball, and courtesy runner Erica Staley came home on a fielder’s choice by Pollock.
In the third, Andalusia added two runs on one hit, relying on its good base running around the diamond.
Edmondson hit a two-run double and Greene hit a three-run triple to help lead their team to seal the win over the Lady Jaguars in the fourth inning.
Greene and Emily Terry later scored on passed balls.
Edmondson was 2-for-4 with two runs and three RBIs; Riley was 1-for-4 with two runs and one RBI; Caraway was 1-for-4 with one home run, two runs and three RBIs; Young was 2-for-3 with two runs and one RBI; Green was 1-for-3 with one run and three RBIs; Terry was 0-for-3 with two runs; Pollock was 1-for-3 with two runs and one RBI; and Kristen Finley was 1-for-2 with two runs.
Taylor said if there is anything he learned out at the area tournament Thursday, it would be that the team is going to have to “play really good softball to keep playing.”
“Teams like Thomasville will be at Gulf Shores,” he said. “You’ve got to play good ball out to win.
“Regardless of the outcome, these girls will compete,” he said. “Regardless with what happens with wins or losses, these girls will compete.”