THIRD PLACE FINISH: Pleasant Home season comes to a finish [with gallery]

Published 12:51 am Saturday, May 20, 2017

The Pleasant Home Lady Eagles surged to a top three finish in the AHSAA Class 1A state softball tournament, but fell one game shy of the state championship game on Friday in Montgomery.




In the state semi-final match, the Lady Eagles put up a fight but fell 12-0 to the three-time defending Class 1A state champion Brantley Lady Bulldogs on Friday afternoon.

Ava Bailey got the start in the pitcher’s circle for the Lady Eagles and struck out the first batter she faced in the opening frame.

Brantley followed that up with a pair of base hits before a pair of ground balls to Sissy Martin at second base ended the inning.

The Lady Eagles got off to a quick start with back-to-back singles from Hope Gunter and Martin to start the bottom of the first inning.

Brantley’s Leanna Johnson then got a strikeout and a double play to put and end to the Lady Eagles’ threat in the opening frame.

In the top of the second inning, Bailey shut down the Lady Bulldogs in order.

Johnson was also dealing in the pitcher’s circle for the Lady Bulldogs as she struck out the Pleasant Home batters in order in the bottom of the second inning.

Brantley got a leadoff single to start the top of the third inning and she quickly stole second.

Bailey then picked up a strikeout for the first out of the inning.

The next Brantley batter popped up between shortstop and third base, but the Lady Eagle defenders both went after the ball and it fell safely to the dirt.

In the confusion of the dropped ball, the Brantley runner sprinted around third and crossed home for the first run of the game.

The next batter drove in another run to put Brantley up 2-0.

Bailey got the next two batters out, but the damage had been done.

In the top of the fourth inning, Johnson leadoff with a home run to put the Lady Bulldogs up 3-0.

The Lady Eagles loaded up the bases in the bottom of the fifth inning when Abby Walker drew a walk and Bailey and Martin reached on singles, but the they weren’t able to push across a run.

Brantley tacked on runs in the sixth and seventh innings to pick up a 12-0 win.

Johnson picked up the win in the pitcher’s circle for Brantley, and has yet to give up a single run through the entire 2017 AHSAA softball playoffs (area, region and state).



In the championship play-in game, the Lady Eagles fell 5-1 in a rematch to Sumiton Christian.

Sumiton Christian got a few hits in the bottom of the first inning to go on top 2-0.

The Lady Eagles got a few hits in the first few innings, but just couldn’t find a way to get a run in.

Sumiton Christian added three runs in the bottom of the fifth inning off a pair of home runs to take a 5-0 lead.

In the top of the sixth inning, Gunter started the frame off with a single and moved to second on a hard hit ball from Martin.

Rae Rae Coleman then scorched a pitch down the third base line to plate Gunter from third.

The Lady Eagles continued to put the bat on the ball, but nice plays by the Sumiton Christian defense limited their chances.

“I couldn’t be any prouder of these girls,” Pleasant Home head coach Jessica Gibson said. “We came in as the underdogs, unranked and the team that no one bother to get a scouting report on and then we finish third in the state. We were the team that other teams called to scout other teams, but no one got a scouting report on us. We lost to two teams that have won several state championships in recent years. I’m super proud of these girls.”

Brantley has won the past three Class 1A state championships and Sumiton Christian won the Class 2A championship in 2015 and 2016 before moving down to Class 1A in 2017.