By Shannon J. Allen/Sand Mountain Reporter
The 2013 Sardis High softball team will be remembered as one of the best in school history, but that seemed to be little consolation last Thursday (May 16) at Lagoon Park.
The fourth-ranked Lady Lions were swept out of the Class 4A state tournament following losses to Corner, 10-1, and Alabama Christian Academy, 7-3. It was Sardis’ second trip to the state tournament in three years.
“We just weren’t on,” said Sardis head coach Mary Beth Gilliland, whose squad finished 36-15-2. “We just didn’t play defense and we didn’t hit like we should have.”
Fifth-ranked Corner came out swinging its bats, plating five runs in the bottom of the first inning.
The Lady Yellow Jackets belted a leadoff home run and added an RBI single and an RBI double. They scored two runs off a Sardis error.
The Lady Lions posted their only run in the top of the second when Hubbard drew a bases-loaded walk.
Corner made it 6-1 in the bottom of the second. A two-out error put a runner on third, and she scored on a wild pitch.
The Lady Yellow Jackets collected two RBI singles and scored another run off a wild pitch in the fourth, making it 9-1.
Sardis leftfielder Kacee Mashburn cut down a runner at home plate to deny Corner another run in the fourth.
The Lady Yellow Jackets scored their 10th run when the umpires awarded a runner home plate following an illegal pitch by Sardis in the fifth inning.
Also in the fifth, Hubbard threw out at the plate what would’ve been Corner’s 11th run.
The Lady Yellow Jackets stroked 14 hits to Sardis’ three.
Payton Golden, Chamblee and Madelyn Gazaway each finished 1-for-3 for the Lady Lions.
Sardis took a 1-0 lead in the loser bracket elimination game against top-ranked Alabama Christian Academy, but the Lady Eagles seized the momentum with a four-run fifth.
Devin Holsonback led off the third inning with a single to centerfield and scored on Golden’s two-out single to right.
Playing in front of a home crowd in Montgomery, the Lady Eagles scored their fifth-inning runs with two outs.
Schylur Edwards’ single cut it to 2-1. Sardis caught Eleanor Mills, who had singled with one out, in a rundown between second and third on Edwards’ hit, but Mills slid safely into third when the Lions dropped the ball.
Mills gave ACA the lead 2-1 when Sardis failed to record an out on Krista Crouse’s fielder’s choice.
Kodee Harrison’s RBI single gave the Lady Eagles a 3-1 advantage. Crouse collided with the field umpire while running toward third on Harrison’s hit. After the umpires conferred, they awarded Crouse home plate due to interference, making it 4-1.
Alabama Christian opened the bottom of the sixth with three consecutive bunt singles, with Christen Goodman’s driving in her team’s sixth run. ACA scored its fifth run on a wild pitch.
Edwards drew a bases-loaded walk to make it 7-1.
Golden caught a bunt in the air and turned a double play to get Sardis out of the inning.
Chamblee led off the Sardis seventh with a single, and Hayley Wofford followed by slugging a two-run homer to left field, cutting it to 7-3.
Sardis finished with eight hits. Wofford singled and homered, while Hubbard doubled and singled.
Holsonback, Golden, Chamblee and Mashburn each contributed a single.
“We didn’t have a real good weekend, but they did more than any other team at Sardis has done,” said Gilliland. “The girls won 36 games, they won the area for the first time and they won the area tournament, so they did a lot that other teams haven’t done. They have a lot to be proud of and they’re a great group of girls, and I couldn’t be more proud.
“Next year is going to be different because these juniors have played with these seniors for so long, but we should still be good. If we have some people step up, we’ll be good.”
Three of Sardis’ four seniors signed softball scholarships – shortstop Kameron Carter with Shorter University, pitcher Bethany Chamblee with Gadsden State and centerfielder Krista Hubbard with Alabama Southern. Senior first baseman Jadie Fobbus will attend Snead State on an academic scholarship.
“They’re going to get an education and that is the most important thing, so I’m very proud of them,” Gilliland said of her seniors.