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Holtville strikes early, eliminates Bibb County


Bibb County’s Kara Pinkston hits Saturday against Holtville in the AHSAA Class 4A softball tournament. (Photo by Photo | Stewart Gwin )


MONTGOMERY | Holtville struck for six runs in the first three innings Saturday and won 7-3 to eliminate Bibb County from the AHSAA Class 4A softball tournament.

Bibb County, which qualified as the South Central Regional runner-up, went 2-2 at Lagoon Park. The Lady Choctaws downed Headland 3-2 in a morning game. Freshman catcher Hali Jones drove in the final two runs with a two-out, bases-loaded single in the top of the seventh.

Holtville got two runs in the first inning. Kendall Cox singled to drive in Hannah Ray, who walked. Cox scored on an error. The Lady Bulldogs added three runs in the second. Kayla Lankford hit a solo homer, and Ray and Dani Oates each had an RBI single. Kayla McLean stole home in the third, and Ray scored on an error in the seventh.

Bibb County finished with a 27-22 record.

"I’m extremely thankful to be here," said Jan Lowery, Bibb County’s first-year head coach. "It’s bad to end on a note when you just made several clutch errors again. I felt like we kind of gave it away."

Bibb County got all its runs in the fourth. Haley Suttle singled and took second on Sumer Hudson’s sacrifice bunt. Marena Miles’ single sent Suttle to third. Jamellya Ducker singled in Suttle. Miles and Ducker scored on errors.

"Once again they proved to me they’re not going to quit," Lowery said.

Beth Garner (17-2) pitched five innings to get the win. She allowed four hits and struck out two. Lankford pitched the final two innings to get a save.

Bibb County junior Mandi Woodruff pitched her fourth straight complete game in the tournament. Woodruff (27-19) allowed seven hits and two walks and struck out 12. She had 41 strikeouts in the state tournament to increase her total to 470.

"Mandi’s been a warhorse from the beginning of the season," Lowery said. "I never expected anything different out of her. She’s the same girl, whether she walks you or whether she strikes you out. She is very poised, very together."

In the seventh inning against Headland, Jones swung at the first pitch and lined a single to left-center field. Ashley Miller and Ducker scored on the hit.

"My plan was to see where the ball is, and if it’s in my zone just go up there and hit it," Jones said.

Jones became the starting catcher late in the season because of an injury.

"My little freshman is greedy now," Lowery said. "She stepped in and filled that role just like a trooper."

Woodruff allowed five hits and two walks and struck out 14.

Ducker hit Bibb County’s first homer of the year in the second. Suttle scored on an error in the third, and Ducker scored on Kayla Averette’s single in the fifth.

 

Reach Andrew Carroll at andrew.carroll@tuscaloosanews.com or at 205-722-0223.