Southside tops Sardis in area tournament

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Messenger file photo by Chris McCarthy

By Chris McCarthy, Publisher/Editor

Southside took the scenic route on the way to winning the Class 5A, Area 13 softball championship on May 3 in Sardis City.
The Lady Panthers (26-17) opened the tournament on May 1 with a 5-4 victory over Boaz, then dropped into the playback bracket with a 5-4 loss to Sardis. Southside edged Boaz, 5-4, to gain a berth in the championship game, where the Lady Panthers posted a 5-4 win over Sardis in eight innings.
In the second title game, Southside pulled away from an early 7-7 tie to score six unanswered runs on the way to earning the first-place trophy.
Southside and Sardis advanced to next week’s East Regional Tournament at Sand Mountain Park in Albertville, where Southside will face Lincoln and Sardis will play Alexandria.
In the first championship game, the Lady Lions led 4-3 going into the top of the seventh, when relief pitcher Lexi Darnell kept Southsides’ hopes alive by retiring the side in order. In the bottom of the inning, Lauren McKee singled with one out and advanced to second base on a groundout by Peyton Burrell. McKee then scored off an error to send the game into extra innings.
Darnell once again sent Sardis down in order in the top of the eighth, and the Lady Panthers loaded the bases in the bottom of the inning when Maddie Griffith worked a leadoff walk and Ava Ramsey and Jovi Marble singled.
That brought up Kadey Barbe, who lined an 0-2 pitch into leftfield to score Griffith and set up a second title game, during which the teams combined for 20 hits, nine for extra bases.
In Game 1 for Southside, McKee went 2-for-2 with two RBI, Burrell went 2-for-4 with two RBI and a run scored and Barbe went 2-for-4 with an RBI.
For Sardis, Baylor Gilmer went 2-for-2, while Lacks went 2-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored.
As the visiting team on the scoreboard in Game 2, Sardis jumped out to a 3-0 lead via Jayda Lacks’ RBI triple, Jalyn Hannah’s run-scoring double and Mia Fowler’s score off an error.
Southside wasted no time in regaining the advantage in the bottom of the first. Burrell led off the inning with a triple and scored on an error. After Jalyn Allen doubled in Bailey Houston and Griffith to tie the game, Ava Ramsey sent a 3-1 offering over the centerfield fence to provide Southside with a 5-3 lead.
The Lady Lions responded in the top of the second. Consecutive two-out singles from Kytha Edwards and Lacks and a hit-by-pitch set up Val Owen’s bases-clearing triple for a 7-5 lead.
That turned out to be Sardis’ final run, however, as Allen retired 14 of the final 18 Sardis batters. She allowed just one hit and three walks while striking out seven in five and one-third innings.
Meanwhile, the Lady Panthers tied the game at 7-7 in the bottom of second on Rylann Shaw’s score off an error and Burrell’s run on a groundout. Southside added three more runs in the third when doubles from Jasie Brooks (pictured above) and Shaw led to scores from Houston and Brooks.
Allen singled in Houston and Ramsey plated Griffith in the fifth to make it 12-7, and Burrell’s RBI base hit in the seventh extended the lead to five runs.
For Southside, Ramsey went 3-for-4 with three RBI and a run scored; Allen went 2-for-4 with four RBI and a run scored; Burrell went 2-for-5 with two RBI and two runs scored; Brooks and Shaw each went 2-for-4 with two runs scored and Griffith had a hit, an RBI and two runs scored.
For Sardis, Owens went 2-for-4 with three RBI and a run scored; Lacks went 20-for-2 with an RBI and two runs scored.
Joining Tournament MVP Jalyn Allen on the all-area tournament team from Southside were Barbe, Ramsey and Brooks.

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