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Lady Lions Tune Up at Helena Round Robin. Finish 3-1 Against Stiff Competition

Contributed by Brian Schooley

The Prattville varsity softball team traveled to Helena over the weekend to play in a round robin tournament against teams preparing for post-season runs. The Lady Lions looked sharp as they won three of their four games and boosted their record to 28-13-1 on the season.

In the opener on Friday night, the Lady Lions came out flat against James Clemons. Prattville beat this team earlier in the year, but they were limited to just four hits in the game. James Clemons only managed four hits as well, but two of those were solo home runs and a bases loaded double. Ty Wilson singled and walked, stole two bases, and scored the Lions only run. Kensley Jarman also singled and walked. The Lady Lions had opportunities due to some walks and a hit batter but stranded seven runners. Kaelyn Campbell suffered the loss.

In the nightcap on Friday, Prattville responded with an 8-2 victory over Albertville. Senior pitcher Melissa Townsend celebrated her birthday in style as she gave up just two hits to earn the victory and helped her own cause with two singles. She had plenty of back-up, as the team’s bats woke up to the tune of 11 hits. The offensive highlight came in the fourth inning when third baseman Gracie Pittman smashed a grand slam home run. Pyper Castro had three hits and two RBIs and Campbell reached base safely three times and drove in a run. Miracle Johnson added an RBI double, and also chipping in with hits were Wilson, Aliyah Hamilton, and Jessica Cord.

On Saturday morning, a steady rain welcomed the Lady Lions as they arrived at the Helena Sports Complex. With the rain slowing, Prattville took the field to face off against Springville, the number two 5A team in the state. It was a pitcher’s duel from the onset. Melissa Townsend locked horns with Samford University commit Abby Swaney. After four innings, both pitchers had given up just two hits and the game remained scoreless, despite Prattville making Swaney work in the bottom of the fourth. After a lead-off single from Townsend and a sacrifice bunt from Campbell, Pittman and Hamilton walked. But they were left there as Swaney worked out of the jam with an infield pop-up and a strike out.

Townsend mowed the Tigers down in the top of the fifth, and the Lady Lions finally struck pay dirt. Eavie Lou Polk hit a one out double over the left fielder’s head. Wilson moved her to third with a sacrifice bunt, and Townsend followed with a walk. Campbell then hit a hard grounder that Swaney couldn’t field, and the single drove in the first run of the game. Pittman then blasted a double to increase the lead to two. Springville put a rally together in the final inning with two singles. With one out, the Tigers hit a fly ball to left field, which was caught by Jarman. She quickly threw a strike to Campbell at second base to double off the runner who ran on contact. The pitcher’s duel belonged to Townsend, and the big win belonged to Prattville.

In the final game of the round robin, Prattville overcame a sluggish start and knocked off Oak Mountain 7-2. The Eagles took advantage of Prattville errors in both the second and third innings to score unearned runs off Campbell. That’s all they would get in the game. The Lady Lions scored their first run in the top of the third. With two outs, Wilson singled, then stole second base on the next pitch. Townsend then hit what looked like a routine ground out to the shortstop, but the fielder bobbled the ball and Townsend beat the throw to first base. Wilson never broke stride and scored from second base on the grounder. Prattville added a run in the fourth inning when Pittman doubled and scored on Hamilton’s RBI single. In the fifth inning, the Lady Lions again put together some two-out magic. After the first two batters were retired on ground outs, Townsend smoked a single. Campbell followed by swinging on the first pitch and placing the ball a good 25 feet over the left field fence. Pittman was then hit by a pitch, and Hamilton followed with her third single of the game. Jarman singled home Pittman, and Castro ripped a two-run double. Campbell finished off the Eagles in the final inning to record the victory.

The Lady Lions will be back in action on Tuesday evening when they travel to Vestavia. They will be home on Thursday for Senior Night as they host Lee for the final regular season game for Area 3.

Senior pitcher Melissa Townsend celebrated her birthday in style

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