By Mike Goodson/Sports Correspondent
For fifth consecutive year, the Southside High Lady Panthers are the Etowah County softball champions.
“I’m proud that our seniors have never lost a championship game,” said SHS head coach Angie Sanders. “I feel like our work ethic and togetherness creates our success.”
The Lady Panthers (26-4) defeated Glencoe, 16-1 in five innings in the semifinals before posting a 13-2 five-inning win over Hokes Bluff in the championship game on Saturday (Apr. 9) at Gaston.
Southside wasted little time in the title contest, scoring three runs on three hits in the bottom of the first inning.
Emma Coker led of the game with a hit and scored on a groundout to deep short. Mollie Free and Hunter Ashcraft both delivered doubles to give Southside a 3-0 lead.
The Lady Eagles drew within 3-2 in the top of the second inning with hits by Jessie Nunnally, Sydney Ball, Kendall Sloan and Mallery Carrol.
But Southside added a pair of runs in the bottom of the second, while an eight-run explosion in the bottom of the third, highlighted by Savannah Yancey’s seventh home run of the season, put the game out of reach.
In four innings, Yancey struck out four and walked nine while allowing five hits. She was named Tournament MVP. Mallary Smith pitched the fifth inning, striking out three of the five batters she faced.
Coker, Ashcraft, Yancey and Brittney Kidd each had two hits, while Free and Smith each added one.
Hokes Bluff’s reached the championship game with a 12-2 victory over Gaston and a 6-1 win over Sardis. Glencoe opened the tournament with a 7-1 win over West End.
Joining Yancey on the all-tournament team were Coker, Ashcraft and Becca Feazell from Southside; Kaci Pegg, Kayla Hickman and Maddy Jenkins from Hokes Bluff; Breia Little and Savannah Goodwin from Glencoe; Hailey Hill and Carly Sarratt from Sardis; Destiney Butts from West End; and Haley Gladden from Gaston.