Cotributed by Brian Schooley
Prattville High School’s varsity softball season came to a heartbreaking close as the Lady Lions were eliminated at the Regionals Monday evening at Lagoon Park in Montgomery. The tournament began last Thursday in Oxford, but rain pushed the games to Monday.
The tournament started off well for Prattville as they won the opener in Oxford over Central-Phenix City 2-1. The Lady Lions scored two runs in the first inning and held on to win. Prattville’s bats were held in check throughout the game as only Kaelyn Campbell, Gracie Pittman, and Kensley Jarman had a hit. The story of the game was senior pitcher Melissa Townsend who gave up just one hit and an unearned run to record the victory. Townsend struck out six and had to battle as the Lady Lions committed five errors in the game. The gutsy win sent them to the winner’s bracket qualifier final with Auburn.
The game with Auburn began on Thursday in Oxford and Auburn led 1-0 in the second inning. Then the rain came…and stayed. Further play was canceled for the day, and the 7A tournament was moved to Lagoon Park for Monday, and the game was a nail biter. Auburn added runs in the third and fourth innings to vault out to a 3-0 lead. Prattville finally broke through with their first run in the fifth inning, after Jessie Adams singled and would move to second on a fielder’s choice. Adams scored on a Townsend single. Auburn would take back their 3-run lead in the bottom half with a solo home run.
The game got exciting for the Lady Lions in the sixth inning. Pittman led off with a double, followed by Aliyah Hamilton and Pyper Castro earning a free pass to first base on walks. With the bases loaded, a wild pitch led to pinch runner Miracle Johnson scoring from third. When the throw from the catch got past the pitcher, pinch runner Anna Schooley alertly took off from third and scored easily. Castro ended up on third but would be stranded there as Auburn’s pitcher retired the sides on strikeouts. In the seventh inning, the Lady Lions tied the score, after Ty Wilson singled and stole second and third bases. She would be driven home by a sacrifice fly from Townsend. With two outs, Pittman singled and Hamilton walked, but the inning ended on a pop fly to the shortstop. The game headed to extra innings, with the Lady Lions going down in order in the eighth and ninth innings. Auburn would win the game in the bottom of the ninth with a two-out walk off home run. It was a tough luck loss for Townsend who pitched valiantly in relief.
The loss sent the Lady Lions to the loser’s bracket qualifier game with a rematch against Central. The Red Devils jumped out to a two-run lead in the first inning, then added two unearned runs in the second inning. They would never look back en route to a 6-2 victory. The Lady Lions scored solo runs in the sixth and seventh innings but were unable to hit in the bunches needed to beat Central. Campbell led the offense with two hits including a double, while Wilson, Townsend, Pittman, Castro, Kensley Jarman, and Adams added singles. Campbell started the game on the mound and suffered the loss.
Prattville ended its season 33-16-1.