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Hale County ounches ticket to state tournament

TUSCALOOSA | The Hale County Lady Wildcats clinched a spot in the state softball tournament in Montgomery by defeating Lamar County 4-1 Saturday in the AHSAA Class 2A North Central Regional.

The Wildcats went 3-0 in the regional tournament, giving up just one run.

Coach Lori Wyatt credited Hale County’s seniors and tough regular-season schedule for the Wildcats’ success.

"I’ve got four seniors on this team," she said. "They have been strong leaders all year long, either vocally or by example. We have played a tough schedule. Before this tournament, we had only played two 2A schools. We played very good competition so we would be ready for this. They have worked together as a team. The chemistry is great, a total team effort. It was all them."

Seventh-grader Savannah Holmes (10-10) pitched all three games. Against the Bulldogs, she had eight strikeouts and two walks while giving up four hits and one run.

Wyatt praised Holmes’ effort.

"(She) did an awesome job pitching," Wyatt said. "She has worked hard and earned the spot. She’s done a terrific job."

Lamar County’s lone run came in the fourth inning when Jessica Turman scored on a single by Blakeney Butler. Turman finished the game with two hits and Butler finished with one, accounting for three of Lamar County’s four hits.

The Wildcats (23-16-2) got on the scoreboard in the third inning. Kayla Wyatt drew a walk and two consecutive fielding errors by Lamar County put Abbey Fleenor and Taylor Tashe on with the bases loaded. Brianna Mills stepped to the plate and delivered a line drive into left field to push Wyatt and Fleenor across the plate. Mills finished 2-for-4 with a single, double and two RBIs.

Hale County scored two more in the seventh when Amanda Steward drove in Fleenor and Tashe. Fleenor finished 2-for-3, scoring twice, and Tashe finished 1-for-3.

Hannah Hassell took the loss for Lamar County, pitching a complete game and giving up four runs on seven hits with one walk and six strikeouts.