By Erik Harris
MONTGOMERY – No. 3 Hewitt-Trussville might have been hot coming into the AHSAA state tournament in Montgomery, but its run in Lagoon Park ended just as quickly as it started.
Two consecutive losses to start tournament play on Wednesday ended the Huskies’ season on Day 1 in Montgomery.
After a dominant performance at the North-Central Regionals in Tuscaloosa, Hewitt-Trussville dropped its state tournament opener to Enterprise by a count of 7-2, and followed that up with a 2-0 loss at the hands of Theodore.
Jitters seemed to be what cooled an upward trending offense that only managed to push a pair of runs across the plate in 14 innings of work.
“I think just because it’s our first time at state, we didn’t realize how it was going to be, so I think we came in just a little tight,” said senior Amber Hammonds.
“They never really quite relaxed,” said Hewitt-Trussville head coach Karen Johns.
Although the Bobcats didn’t make much noise of their own from the plate, they did manage to record one big hit that came at the right moment.
Right-hander Callie Shields only allowed six hits, but the one that came off the bat of Ashley McNorton in the bottom of the second inning told the story.
With two runners in scoring position, McNorton drove a one-out liner back up the middle for the game’s only run production.
Husky hitters had similar opportunities throughout the contest, but left eight runners stranded on base. Not one inning closed without a Hewitt-Trussville runner standing on base.
“We just pressed too hard,” said Johns. “I think they tried a little bit too hard at the plate, we didn’t have as quality at-bats as we normally have.”
Many of those scoring threats were doused by quiet fly balls. Theodore’s Ryleigh Eddins forced 12 Husky fly outs.
“We like to slow our sets down and I thought our sets were much too quick, and that was creating us to get under the ball instead of just staying calm and saving that energy for the swing,” said Johns.
Hammonds lead off two Hewitt-Trussville innings by reaching first. In both situations she stole her way into scoring position, only to be denied home plate.
“We left runners on first and second a lot,” said Hammonds. “No adjustments were made. Popup after popup, and no adjustment.”
Johns closes 2015 with an overall record of 35-11. In her first season leading the Huskies, Johns finished second in Class 7A, Area 6, won a postseason regional tournament, and qualified for the state finals.
“They’re just a great group and they worked so hard,” said Johns. “Just to be here was a big step for them and the growing process.”