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AHS owns area crown

Posted Friday, May 08, 2009 by SJA
SOUTHSIDE — Albertville and Southside waged a suspenseful nine-inning battle Tuesday in the winners bracket finals of the Class 5A, Area 13 softball tournament.

In Thursday’s rematch, the Lady Aggies removed the suspense early by scoring four runs in the top of the first inning.

The quick start propelled Albertville on its way to a 12-1 triumph and a second straight area tournament championship.

It’s the first time the Lady Aggies have won back-to-back area tourney crowns since the format was adopted in 2004.

Both Albertville (30-8-1) and Southside (24-16) advanced to the Northeast Regional in Huntsville.

The Lady Aggies faced No. 6 Muscle Shoals on Friday afternoon in their opening game.

“It’s awesome,” AHS senior shortstop Hannah Woodruff said of the area championship.

“They beat us the second time in the regular season, so we were out to get them.

“They’re our biggest rivals. They’re worse than Boaz, Guntersville, anybody. It feels great to beat them.”

Carrie Barton, who won Tuesday’s contest, also picked up the victory Thursday.

The senior left-hander yielded four hits and struck out five in five innings.

Torrea Talton pitched two innings. She gave up two hits and one walk.

“We came down here with a great attitude,” Barton said. “We came down knowing we were going to hit.

“We had good pitching, me and Torrea. We just did it all, wrapped it up, scored 12 runs.”

Brittany Copeland and Talton each slugged a two-run single in the top of the first, sending Albertville to a 4-0 advantage.

Southside collected its only run in the bottom of the first on Taylor Williamson’s two-out single.

Emily Woodruff, Hannah Woodruff and Stephanie NeSmith led off the second with consecutive singles. Emily Woodruff scored on a passed ball, making it 5-1.

The Lady Aggies plated four runs in the top of the sixth, expanding their advantage to 9-1.

Copeland delivered a two-run single, and Talton added an RBI single. Becca Townsend drove in Albertville’s fourth run on a squeeze bunt.

AHS made it a 12-1 game in the top of the seventh.

Barton reached base on an error and later scored on a wild pitch.

Pinch-hitter Maggie Younghouse drove in Albertville’s 11th and 12th runs with a two-out single to right field.

The Lady Aggies finished with 17 hits against two Southside pitchers, but neither of them was Panthers’ ace Alayna Holderfield.

Holderfield earned the win in Thursday’s losers bracket final against Etowah.

Albertville head coach Paul Woodruff wasn’t surprised his team didn’t face Holderfield.

“He (SHS coach Kenny Fulmer) did the same thing last year,” Woodruff said.

“They would have had to beat us twice, which would mean Alayna had to throw three back-to-back-to-back games.

“I mean, they’re a great team, she’s a great pitcher, but could she last 21 innings? I don’t know.

“This is all great and you want to be the area champion, but the big goal is to get to the next level, and he was there. I’m sure that probably played into his thinking.”

Woodruff believes the turning point in the tournament was Tuesday’s extra-inning win.

“That was huge,” he said. “Our kids stepped up.

“They had a chance to win it in seven and then let it get away, but they stayed with it.

“Carrie had 17 strikeouts and pitched probably the best game she’s pitched in a couple of years.

“Southside’s a great team. They’ve got good coaches and good players and a great pitcher. We’re happy to get out of it as a champion.”

Albertville’s only extra-base hit Thursday was a double by McKenzie Peet, who also scored two runs.

Emily Woodruff, a seventh-grader, batted 3-for-3 with a run to lead the Lady Aggies’ hit parade.

NeSmith finished 3-for-5 with a run, and Hannah Woodruff was 3-for-5.

Copeland closed 2-for-4 with three runs and four RBIs. Barton batted 2-for-5 with three runs, and Talton ended 2-for-5 with two runs and three RBIs.

Younghouse was 1-for-1 with two RBIs.

Taylor Williamson’s two hits paced Southside.

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