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Elkmont knocks Straughn out of chase

MONTGOMERY — Elkmont’s Anna Usery hit a three-run slammer in the bottom of the sixth inning to earn a 3-2 victory over sixth-ranked Straughn in the Class 3A State Softball Tournament at Lagoon Park, ending the Lady Tigers’ run at a state title.

“We really had our goal set on winning the championship this year, and sometimes you don’t know why, but sometimes it doesn’t work out for you,” Straughn coach Ray Wilson said. “We played well defensively and pitched well all year. In that first loss, they had that one inning where they got four runs, and in that game we had one inning and one  swing at the bat and we ended up losing.”

And in the end, Wilson said Elkmont “earned” the win.

“That’s what we preach all year long,” he said. “Whatever they get, make them earn it, and they did.”

The Lady Tigers (33-13-1) started out with a 10-0 rout over Leeds, but then fell to Dadeville 4-1 to get their first loss of the day, forcing them to move down to the elimination bracket.

Elkmont 3, Straughn 2

Winning pitcher Megan Honea allowed five hits and struck out nine batters.

The Lady Tigers (33-13-1) held a 2-0 lead all the way until Usery’s three-run shot in the sixth inning.

Straughn scored two runs in the top of the third inning when senior Kayla Messer scored fellow senior Stephanie Bracewell on a triple.

Messer later came in to score on a single by Tiffany Taylor.

Elkmont’s Courtney Phillips and Tiffany Adams singled in the bottom of the sixth to reach on base.

S. Bracewell was 2-for-4 with two singles; Messer was 1-for-4 with one triple and one RBI; Taylor was 1-for-4 with one single and one RBI; and Katie Beck was 1-for-3 with one single.

Losing pitcher Katy Messick allowed three runs on three hits and struck out three batters.

“(Messick) did a great job,” Wilson said. “She kept them off balance throughout the course of the game and we played defense behind her. They’ve done that all year. I didn’t expect anything different.”

Wilson said after the game he made sure to let his team know how much he appreciated their endurance.

“I’m proud of the effort they gave all year, and I told them that,” he said. “I’m proud of the way they handled themselves. A lot of the fans don’t know much about their character, but I do and I wouldn’t trade them for any other team.”

Dadeville 4, Straughn 1

Dadeville’s Shae Heard was 2-for-3 with a double and a single; and Reba Hawkins was 2-for-4 to help lead their team to victory over Straughn Thursday afternoon.

Messer scored Straughn’s lone run off of an error in the first inning, after she doubled at bat.

Dadeville scored one run to tie the game up in the bottom of the third when Kim Greer hit an RBI single to score Hawkins.

Dadeville added three additional runs in the fourth inning to seal the win over Straughn.

Heard and Jodie Caldwell combined for three RBIs in the deciding inning.

S. Bracewell, Messer and Taylor were all 1-for-3; and Messick was 1-for-2.

Straughn 10, Leeds 0

Tori Bracewell hit a grand slam home run in the bottom of the second inning to help lead her team to a first round 10-0 win over Leeds Thursday morning.

Then, Leeds’ second baseman Tomi O’Neal grounded out to the pitcher to end the inning.

Bracewell got things started in the second inning with her first of two singles, and then scored on a two-run double by Beck.

Beck and S. Bracewell later scored on a fielder’s choice by Wiggins.

T. Bracewell’s grand slam scored S. Bracewell, Wiggins and Messer.

The Lady Tigers scored eight runs in the second inning, and added one run each in the fourth and sixth innings.

Wiggins allowed her only three hits of the game in the first inning, where Leeds had the bases loaded in the win. Straughn then stepped up on defense where Teel ran down the runner going to third to force the second out.

T. Bracewell led in hitting going 3-for-3 with two singles, one home run, two runs and five RBIs.

Wiggins struck out three in the win.

S. Bracewell was 0-for-2 with two runs; Wiggins was 1-for-4 with one double and two runs; Messer was 1-for-3 with one double and one run; Katy Messick was 1-for-2 with one single; Teel was 0-for-3 with one run; and Beck was 1-for-3 with one double and two RBIs.

The Lady Tigers will be graduating three seniors — S. Bracewell, Messer and Kayla Teel — later this month, and Wilson said it was great to have them on the team.

In the last three years, these three seniors have helped lead their team to three state tournament appearances, two runner-up finishes and two regional championships.

“It was a tremendous season for these ladies,” Wilson said. “I just told the seniors that I’m proud of the way they lead this team, and all three of them have lead in different ways. Their leadership has been an asset this year. They’ll be greatly missed.”

Straughn’s Kaitlynn Wiggins earned the win in her team’s first game victory over Leeds Thursday morning.