Hokes Bluff splits on opening day of softball regionals


Messenger file photo by Alex Chaney

Hokes Bluff went 1-1 during the opening day of the Class 3A East Regional softball tournament
on Tuesday, May 10 at the Albertville Sports Complex.
After getting off to a good start with a 13-2 victory over Saks, the Lady Eagles fell to Plainview, 10-0, later in the day. The loss dropped Hokes Bluff to the playback bracket, where the Lady Eagles will face Childersburg late Wednesday evening.
With their opening game against Saks scoreless through the first four innings, the Lady Eagles pushed across five runs in the fifth inning and another eight in the sixth.
Winning pitcher Kyleigh Blackwell twirled a three-hitter, striking out 13 while not issuing a walk. Sixty-five of her 96 pitches went for strikes. She tossed a perfect game over the first four innings, retiring the first nine batters she faced while fanning six.
But Saks starter Raina Zackery kept the Hokes Bluff offense at bay in the early going. Although she allowed six baserunners over the initial four innings, none crossed home plate. That lack of offense cost the Lady Eagles when Saks went ahead 2-0 in the top of the fifth on Arielle Sillman’s two-run double.
The Lady Eagles did not trail for long. Halle Davenport and Bailee Latronico started off the bottom of the inning with consecutive base hits, with Abby Payne drawing a walk to load the bases. RBI singles from Makenna Bennich and Blackwell tied the game, and Hokes Bluff took the lead for good when Bennich scored on an RBI groundout. Ava Dodd’s two-RBI double them provided the Lady Eagles with a 5-2 advantage.
The Lady Wildcats threatened on the top of the sixth with runners on second and third with two outs, but Blackwell struck out the next batter to end the inning.
Hokes Bluff put the game away in the bottom of the sixth. Base hits from Davenport and Latronico and a pair of Saks fielding errors led to two runs. Bennich then singled in Rosie Garrett, and three straight walks pushed the lead to 10-2. Dodd scored off a fielder’s choice and Hayden Wolfe came home on Garrett’s RBI flyout to end the game on the 10-run mercy rule.
At the plate for Hokes Bluff, Bennich went 2-for-4 with two RBI and two runs scored; Latronico went 2-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored; Davenport went 2-for-4 with two runs scored; Dodd had a double with three RBI and a run scored; and Garrett and Blackwell each had a hit, an RBI and a run scored.
Blackwell had a decent five-inning outing against Plainview in scattering seven hits, one earned run and one walk with three strikeouts, but the Lady Eagle offense no answer for Plainview starter Lily Boswell. In six innings, Boswell limited Hokes Bluff to one hit and one walk while striking out eight. Gracie Blair had the Lady Eagles’ lone hit.

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