By Erik Harris
TUSCALOOSA—After winning the Class 6A, Area 12 championship, Pinson Valley got the program’s first regional tournament victory in Tuscaloosa with a 14-0 decision over Homewood in the losers bracket on Friday night.
However, that win was sandwiched between two losses. The Indians fell to Chelsea 2-0 on Friday afternoon and lost Saturday morning to Oxford by a count of 6-0, ending coach Laurin Watts’ first season at Pinson Valley.
“I’m proud of these girls,” said Watts. “These seniors have led the way. For Pinson Valley, this is history. This is just stepping stones for what’s to come in the future for this program.”
Chelsea 2, Pinson Valley 0
In the afternoon game against Chelsea, the Indians just couldn’t find any offense in a 2-0 shutout.
Lauren Keplinger threw a strong game for the home team, but couldn’t get any offense to back her production. The first run that passed on her watch came via passed ball in the top-half of the third frame.
The Hornets managed to score the final run of the contest with their next plate appearance. Following the loss, Pinson Valley took the diamond for an knockout game with Homewood, which they won 14-0.
Oxford 6, Pinson Valley 0
Oxford did all of its damage in one inning, and that was good enough to survive another game. The Yellow Jackets tore open a scoreless game with a six-run bottom of the fourth.
“We were definitely tired, you could tell all of us were kind of drained and we just didn’t have it in us today,” said Pinson Valley senior Jenna Trimm.
That offensive outburst was all pitcher Jojo Skinner needed to cruse past Pinson Valley 6-0. She held the Indians to only three hits. Skinner recorded 16 strikeouts and two walks.
“She really didn’t move the ball that much, but she brought it, she had a good rise ball,” said Pinson Valley senior Kirbi Tuck.
Pinson Valley did manage to put the righty in a bind in the top-half of the second inning, but couldn’t capitalize with runs.
Hana Presley got one of the Indians’ three hits before Trimm got aboard via walk in the second. A Tuck groundout moved both runners up, leaving it to Graci Graves to come through with two outs.
Graves went down swinging to leave Presley and Trimm stranded in scoring position. That was Pinson Valley’s closest encounter with the plate.
Oxford’s big fourth inning was fueled by three Indian errors. The third error of the frame sent the fifth and sixth runs across for the home team.
“Before the season started, we sat down and said ‘what are our goals this year?’ and that was to win area, make it into regionals and we had a set of girls who were young, but came up and did what they wanted to do: help us out,” said Tuck.