Contributed by Brian Schooley
It was a late night, but a great night at Prattville High School, as the varsity softball team earned its second straight Area 3 title. The Lady Lions knocked off Enterprise 9-5 in the tournament finale and will move on to the regionals next Thursday in Oxford.
To get to the title game, Prattville faced off against Enterprise in the winner’s bracket final earlier in the day. Kaelyn Campbell hurled a no hitter and blasted two home runs with five RBIs to lead the Lady Lions to a 9-0 victory. After two scoreless innings, Prattville put up four runs in the bottom of the third inning. Ty Wilson and Melissa Townsend opened the frame with back-to-back singles, followed by Campbell’s first home run. Gracie Pittman was then hit by a pitch, followed by Aliyah Hamilton’s single. Pittman would score on a nifty double play turned by the Wildcats’ shortstop Taylor Danford.
The Lions would add two more runs in the fifth inning. Townsend singled followed by Campbell reaching base safely on a two-base error by the right fielder. Pittman and Hamilton would each drive in the runners on fielder’s choices. The Lady Lions added three more runs to the mix in the sixth inning. Eavie Lou Polk singled and did Wilson. With one out, Campbell hit a no-doubter bomb to left field for her second home run. The Lady Lions had twelve hits in the game including singles from Pyper Castro and Jessie Adams. Wilson ended the game with three hits and two stolen bases. Campbell struck out five batters and only threw 69 pitches in her complete game no hitter.
With a berth in the Area 3 championship sealed, the Lady Lions sat out a game to see who they would face in the title. Enterprise outlasted Jefferson Davis 9-8 in a thrilling loser’s bracket finale. The Wildcats scored eight of the nine runs in the first three innings and then held on for dear life. The Lady Vols knocked four home runs but came up on the short end. Enterprise left fielder Hayley Brown threw out two would-be scorers at the plate to help the Wildcats move on to the championship game.
In the championship game, it looked like Prattville might run off with the game. Despite playing on their home field, the Lady Lions were the visitors. They struck pay dirt in the first inning when Wilson led off with a single and advanced to second on an Enterprise error. Townsend hit an 0-2 pitch into right field to score Wilson. After a one-out single from Hamilton, the Lady Lions looked ready to pounce, but Enterprise third baseman Sydney Thornton turned a solid 5-5-3 double play to end the inning.
After starting pitcher Townsend put Enterprise down in the first inning, Prattville struck for two runs in the second inning. Pittman doubled and was driven in by a Kensley Jarman single. Polk singled, but Wildcats’ Hayley Brown threw another runner out at the plate. Townsend would eventually drive home Polk with her second single of the night. Prattville’s bats went silent in the third and fourth innings, but Enterprise was still hitless after the third. That changed in the fourth inning. Townsend was chased after issuing two walks and two hits. Maddie Ray Coker came in to the game in relief and gave up a single. A Prattville error added to the long inning, and when the dust had settled, Enterprise had taken a 5-4 lead.
That lead did not last long, as the Lady Lions responded with three runs in the fifth inning. Campbell singled, followed by walks to Hamilton and Castro. Pittman drove home Campbell with a single and Polk drove home Castro on a fielder’s choice. Adams walked to put runners at first and second, and Wilson followed with her third single of the game. Once again, Hayley Brown threw out a Prattville runner trying to score from second to end the inning. Coker shut the Wildcats down in the bottom of the fifth inning, and in the sixth, Prattville put together some two-out magic. Hamilton, Castro, and Pittman each singled, but a nice play by Thornton at third stranded the three Lady Lions runners.
In the bottom of the sixth, Enterprise capitalized on a Prattville two-base error followed by a double to trim the lead to one run. Campbell made a nice at second base to end the inning. In the top of the seventh, the Lady Lions added three insurance runs. With one out Adams walked, followed by Wilson’s fourth single of the game. A Coker fielder’s choice forced out Adams, but Campbell kept the inning alive by driving home Wilson with a single. After Hamilton walked, Castro drove home Coker with a single. Campbell would score on a wild pitch.
In the bottom of the seventh, Campbell took over the mound in relief. After a double and a Prattville error, Campbell closed the game out with a nice play on a ground ball to get a force out on third for the second out. The last out came on a grounder to Hamilton at third, and she made a perfect toss to Castro at first for the final out. Cue the music and celebration…Prattville had won the championship.
The Lady Lions belted out 17 hits in the game but stranded 12 runners. Coker earned the victory. With the two wins on Tuesday evening, Prattville improved its record to 32-14-1.
The Lady Lions will head to Oxford next Thursday and play the Area 4 runner-up in the first game of the Regional tournament.