STATE SOFTBALL CHAMPIONS: Lady Bobcats go undefeated through state tournament to bring home title

Published 5:00 pm Tuesday, May 21, 2024

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Written by Tripp Norris for the Star-News

Opp senior pitcher Reese Cauley was named Most Valuable Player of the Class 3A state softball tournament. (PHOTO BY TRIPP NORRIS)

After sweeping through area and regionals, the Opp High School Lady Bobcats returned to the state tournament in Oxford with one goal in mind and that was to bring home a blue map. Opp came close in 2023 finishing as the runner up to Plainview, but finished the job in 2024 sweeping their competition in the state tournament.

The Lady Bobcats went undefeated throughout the playoffs, going 10-0 through the area, region and state tournaments.

State Championship vs. Plainview
In the title game the Lady Bobcats faced off with Plainview who had won two of the last three championships. The Lady Bears scored the first run early in the game off of two base hits for a 1-0 lead. In the bottom of the fourth inning, Bradleigh Lanier tripled scoring her sister Ryan Lanier who was running for Reese Cauley tying the game at 1-1. One batter later Taylor Adams brought in Lanier with a single to right field that put the Lady Bobcats ahead 2-1 after four innings. Plainview managed to tie the game with a base hit in the top of the fifth. With just two more chances at bat for Opp, the senior players took center stage. Amaya Womack hit a long triple that was just short of going over the fence and was at third base when a passed ball by Plainview allowed her to score giving Opp the lead. Tournament MVP Reese Cauley then put the stamp on the championship with a towering home run over the left field fence giving Opp the lead 4-2. Cauley then finished off Plainview in the circle retiring them in order in the top of the seventh giving Opp the win 4-2 and the program’s first ever state championship. Reese Cauley was 2 for 3 at the plate including a solo home run and an RBI. Bradleigh Lanier was also 2 for 3 with a triple, RBI, and run scored. Cauley allowed 1 earned run and struck out 8 in the circle for the win. She also recorded her career 1,000th strikeout during the game as well. The Lady Bobcats finished the season with a program record 43 wins and a 10-0 record in postseason play to go along with the state championship.

Winner’s Bracket Final vs. Saint James
With two walk off wins to start the tournament, the Lady Bobcats were the designated visiting team as they took on the number one ranked Saint James Lady Trojans for a chance to play in the state championship. Unlike the previous two games the Lady Bobcats scored in the very first inning with a pair of runs. Reese Cauley singled into center field to score Jaidyn Ivey for the first run of the game. Then Bradleigh Lanier drove in Amaya Womacks with two outs to give Opp a 2-0 lead after one. An error by Opp in the second inning allowed Saint James to score their only run of the game and cut the lead to 2-1. The score remained 2-1 until the Lady Bobcats final turn at bat. Bradleigh Lanier tripled with no one out to score Faith Rudy from first base for a 3-1 lead. Opp was not done there as Taylor Adams drove in Lanier and an error by Saint James allowed Ryan Lanier to score. As the wheels came off for Saint James another error by the Lady Trojans allowed Opp to plate four more runs in the inning. Saint James had no answer for Reese Cauley in the bottom of the seventh as Opp advanced to the title game with a convincing 8-1 over top ranked Saint James. Reese Cauley was 3 for 4 at the plate with 2 RBIs. She also struck out 16 in the circle for her third win of the day. Bradleigh Lanier, Taylor Adams, and Amaya Womack all had a hit as well.

First and Second Round: Madison Academy and Plainview

The Lady Bobcats had a tough test in their first game of the state tournament against Madison Academy who was ranked fourth in the final poll of the season. The pitcher’s duel came down to the bottom of the seventh with Bradleigh Lanier came up with a bunt single to lead off the inning putting her on with no outs. Two batters later Addison Moseley hit a long fly ball to center field that landed for a double scoring Lanier with the game winning run giving Opp a walk off 1-0 win in their opening game. Moseley was 2 for 3 in the game including the winning RBI. Reese Cauley pitched a shutout striking out 12 batters.

Game two for Opp was a rematch against second ranked Plainview, the defending 3A champion from a year ago. This contest like Opp’s previous one was a defensive pitcher’s duel that again came down to the final at bat. Plainview had threatened to score the entire contest collecting at least one base runner in every single inning but one. No one had scored after seven innings of play and the game went into extras. After holding Plainview off the board in the top of the eighth, Bradleigh Lanier again got a base hit to start off the bottom half of the inning. Lanier stole second base and then as Taylor Adams attempted to bunt her to third, Plainview made a throwing error. No one for Plainview was covering third base as Lanier took off and the throw to third went into left field allowing her to score the walk off run for the second game in a row giving Opp the win 1-0. Reese Cauley and Addison Moseley both had 2 hits for Opp. Cauley struck out 15 going all 8 innings in the circle for the win.