They believed in themselves

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 21, 2010

Shocked. Surprised. A little sad.

Those three feelings sum up how I felt more than a week ago at the state softball tournament in Montgomery, as both Straughn and Pleasant Home were knocked out of contention on the first day.

Yes, the first day.

Both got off to great starts in the tournament.

Straughn beat Leeds 10-0, and Pleasant Home narrowly escaped with a 4-1 win over South Lamar.

At that point, things were going well.

I was updating the website with an account of what had happened that morning, and was looking forward to the second round game in the winner’s bracket.

After lunch, something happened.

Pleasant Home fell to Lynn 7-4, and Straughn fell to a very scrappy Dadeville team, 4-1.

Both were now in the loser’s bracket, and I was thinking, “they’ve been here before, and they’ll get out of it by winning the last game of the day.”

We all know what happened — the Lady Eagles lost to regional foe Ariton 3-2, and the Lady Tigers fell 3-2 in a bitter defeat to Elkmont.

There were signs of not giving up in both of their last games at Lagoon Park that evening, and I think that is the key.

Straughn held a 2-0 lead going into the bottom of the sixth inning until Elkmont hit a three-run home run to win the game.

As Lady Tigers’ coach Ray Wilson said after the game, Elkmont “earned” the win.

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

So, as I found myself driving back to Andalusia last Friday morning, I reflected on the one positive that came from the tournament — that the coaches and players believed in themselves until that very last out.