By Johnny Sanders, Sports Editor
ODENVILLE – Saint Clair County High School hosted the county softball tournament on Saturday in a long day at the park that saw Springville lose their first game of the year to Moody but recover and take home the trophy, winning five straight games after the loss.
In the first game of the tournament, Springville took on rival Moody with the Blue Devils handing the Tigers their first loss of the entire season by a score of 8-2. Moody’s Ryleigh Hodges would get the win, pitching 2 innings and allowing 2 hits and 1 run. Hannah Rutledge would come in to relieve Hodges, pitching one inning and allowing 1 hit and 1 run. Bella Bullington would take the loss for Springville, pitching a little over 2 innings and allowing 5 hits and 7 runs. For the Blue Devils, the wealth was spread around on offense as everyone’s bat was awake in this game. 7 of the 8 runs were by different players with Lacey Nichols being the only one with multiple runs and she got them as a pinch runner. Moody would win the game 8-2.
In game two, Springville would get back to their old ways, whipping the Ragland Purple Devils by a score of 9-1. The teams would engage in a pitcher’s duel for two innings before Springville got things going in the third with 9 runs. Emmy Leopard would go 3 for 3 batting, getting across the plate twice and driving in a run. Shelby Hathcock would pitch the complete game, allowing just 2 hits, 1 run and striking out 3 batters in the process.
Game three would be another blowout win for the Tigers on the day with an 11-0 win over the Ashville Bulldogs. The first inning would be scoreless but then Springville would pour it on in the second with 5 runs followed by back-to-back 3-run innings to make it 11-0. Layla Bradshaw drove in 4 runs and crossed the plate once herself. Georgia Chancellor, Ashlyn Cooley and Kaylee Sue Martin all had 2 runs each. Bella Bullington got the win, the shutout and a no-hitter in this game, striking out 8 batters.
In their fourth game of the day, the Springville Tigers defeated drew the host Saint Clair County Saints and, in what would be a great game from the mound as both pitchers would have good games. Shelby Hathcock would get the win for the Tigers, pitching all 5 innings, allowing 3 hits and a run, striking out 3 and walking just one batter. Emmy Leopard would go 2-for-3 at the plate to lead the Tigers. Springville would get the win over Saint Clair County, 2-1.
Next up would be a rematch for the Tigers against the Blue Devils of Moody but this time, Springville would get revenge by beating them 10-4 and avenging the earlier loss. Georgia Chancellor would go the distance for Springville, pitching all 7 innings and allowing 6 hits, 4 runs and recording 8 strikeouts. For Moody, Ryleigh Hodges would take the loss, pitching 4 innings, allowing 7 hits, 6 runs and striking out 3. Hannah Rutledge would enter the game in the fifth, finishing out the game for the Blue Devils. Layla Bowden and Kaylee Sue Martin would each drive in 2 runs for the Tigers. Bowden and Ashlyn Cooley would tally 2 runs each as well. For Moody, Kendall Trimm had 2 RBI.
Beating a team twice in a season is tough. Beating a team twice in a day is even more difficult. In order to win the county tournament, Springville would have to do just that. Not just any team, their biggest rivals and the team that, just hours ago, handed them their first loss of the season. Shelby Hathcock would pitch the Tigers to a 5-0 win over Moody to win the game and the county championship for Springville. Hathcock would pitch the entire 7 innings, allowing just 2 hits and striking out 5. Moody’s Hodges would take to the mound once again, this time allowing 7 hits and 5 runs in the loss. At the plate for Springville, Bullington went 2-for-2 with 2 RBI and a score herself.
“Losing to Moody and having to play 6 games was tough,” said JP Taruc, Springville’s Head Coach. “I have a great group of tough girls that fought for each other. We played together as one. When their backs were against the wall, they never gave up. My girls showed that they have a lot of grit about themselves for digging deep and fighting throughout the tournament. I am extremely proud of my girls and how they performed.”
Springville, now 12-1, will host Hayden on Thursday.