Lady Lions win area softball championship

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Courtesy of Sand Mountain Reporter

Sardis High School won its second straight Class 4A, Area 12 softball tournament championship by defeating host Crossville twice in the finals on Friday (May 6).

The Lady Lions face Carbon Hill on Friday (May 13) at 3 p.m. in the North Central Regional Tournament in Tuscaloosa. Crossville had defeated Sardis in both of the regular season meetings in Area 12 action.

“I’m extremely proud of the girls for their focus and hard work they have put in, not only this past week, but for this year,” said Sardis head coach Richey Lee. “It’s been an up-and-down year. However, these girls have stayed the course with the process, and it has been paying off these last few weeks. This area tournament was a total team effort, and they believed in one another every game, even after a tough loss to Crossville in game two on the first night.”

Sardis opened the tournament on May 5 by pounding Cherokee County, 12-2.

“We got a complete game from Madelyn Gazaway, good team defense and timely hits offensively,” Lee said.

Sardis and Crossville met in the winners bracket finals, with CHS rallying for a 2-1 victory.

“It was another great game between the teams, with Carly Sarratt throwing a great six innings and us having the lead 1-0 until the bottom of the sixth,” Lee said. “We had several opportunities throughout the game to take advantage of runners in scoring position but were unsuccessful in driving them in. Sometimes you just have to give credit where credit is due, and Crossville took advantage of their couple of opportunities.”

Cherokee County eliminated Hokes Bluff in the loser’s bracket, which set up a Sardis/CCHS rematch in the losers bracket finals on Friday.

“The girls came in really excited and focused on what they needed to do for the day, because not only was one of our goals this year to make it to the regionals, but also to win back-to-back area championships,” Lee said.

The Lions eliminated Cherokee County, 9-1, to gain a rematch with Crossville in the championship round.

For Sardis against CCHS, Jade Bonds went 3-for-4 with a walk and three runs. Hailey Hill went 2-for-4, while both Gazaway and Hannah Hallmark finished 2-for-5.

Gazaway was the winning pitcher, throwing six innings with one strikeout. Kaylee Harraid pitched the seventh inning and struck out two.

Carley Gardner and Bailey White each closed 1-for-4 with a walk and one run, and Devin Holsonback, Whitney Feemster and Emily Cook all went 1-for-4.

“Game one of the finals turned out to be like the game from the day before, but only this time it was in our favor,” Lee said. “Both teams played really well again. However, we finally took advantage of those opportunities we had missed from the day before and beat them 4-2 in eight innings to force game two.”

Sarratt tossed a complete game to earn the victory for Sardis. She had three strikeouts.

Gardner went 2-for-2 with two walks and two runs, while Hallmark was 2-for-4.

White, Bonds, Holsonback, Gazaway, Feemster and Cook all closed 1-for-4.

Cook collected two RBIs, and Bonds and Holsonback each scored a run. Gazaway blasted a double.

The Lions beat Crossville, 6-1, in game two to win the area crown.

Kaylee Harraid pitched a complete game for Sardis, racking up four strikeouts.

The Lady Lions plated two runs in the second inning and four in the third frame.

Hill went 2-for-2 with a walk and one RBI, Cook went 2-for-3 with two RBI and Gardner went 2-for-4.

Feemster finished 1-for-3 with a double and two RBI.

“We had great pitching performances both days from senior Madelyn Gazaway, sophomore Carly Sarratt and freshman Kaylee Harraid mixed with some great defensive plays,” Lee said. “Offensively, we had several players step up at different times to help contribute. The girls who made the all-tournament team played a big part in helping us get back-to-back championships.”

Gazaway was voted most valuable player and was joined on the all-tournament squad by teammates Holsonback, Hannah Hallmark Cook and Hill.

“I’m just so happy to be a part of this program and school,” Lee said. “This coaching staff and all the players has really stayed the course with the process and foundation that was set last year. They have finally put things together and have been playing some of their best ball these last few weeks, and in turn they have made these last few weeks special, because it’s what I envisioned when the season began back in January.”

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