By Mike Goodson/Sports Correspondent
Southside High School is once again the Class 6A, Area 13 softball champion.
The Lady Panthers went through the area tournament undefeated, capping their run with a 10-3 victory over Scottsboro on Friday (May 6) at SHS.
Southside (40-7) will compete in the North Regional Tournament starting on Thursday (May 12) against Muscle Shoals in Huntsville.
The Lady Panthers beat Scottsboro, 10-3, in the tournament semifinals on May 5.
“We came out on a mission to win the area championship,” said Southside head coach Angie Sanders. “We play with a team concept and we’re not carried by two or three stars. When one or two players have a bad game, someone else steps up, so we feel like we can win anytime we step on the field.”
That is exactly what senior third baseman Mollie Free did during the tournament, hitting a 9-for-11 (.818) while making several stellar fielding plays to ignite the Lady Panthers.
“Mollie has overcome adversity all season coming back from injuries and truly deserved to be Tournament MVP,” said Sanders. “She has a great passion for the game.”
In the championship game, Scottsboro took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning when Jessica Dickson singled and Macy Petriski hit a long home run to centerfield off of starter Savannah Yancey.
The Lady Panthers scored a run in the bottom of the inning on a leadoff double by Emily Coker, who later scored on a wild pitch.
Southside took the lead on the bottom of the third on two hits and two walks. Mallory Smith had an RBI single for the tying run, and Morgan Holloway had a sacrifice fly to put the Lady Panthers ahead for good.
Southside added one run in the fourth inning and five in the fifth to increase the lead to 9-2.
The Lady Wildcats tallied one last run in the top of the sixth to cut the Lady Panther lead to 9-3, but it was too little, too late. Southside added one last run in the bottom of the sixth on a walk to Brittany Kidd and a double by Becca Feazell.
Mallory Smith worked five innings in relief for the win, giving up one run on four hits. She walked two and struck out two.
Free went 3-for-3 at the plate with one walk. After she received that base on balls, she promptly stole second.
“We had a runner on third, and I knew if they threw to second the runner from third would score,” she said.
Joining Free on the all-tournament team from Southside were Smith, Kidd, Feazell and Lauren Hunt.