News from the Tennessee Valley Sports

Hartselle blasts Lady Rockets

By Brooke Milam 340-2460

HARTSELLE — It's common coach-speak to claim to not pay attention to the state rankings.

But Gardendale softball coach Brad Myrick said that when his Class 5A fifth-ranked team visited second-ranked Hartselle on Tuesday, the Lady Rockets knew exactly what they faced.

"We told our girls that this was a chance to play the No. 2 team in 5A and a team we'd have to meet in (the state tournament in) Montgomery," Myrick said. "I see now that we're way behind where we need to be."

The homestanding Lady Tigers fought off an early Gardendale lead, exploding for a mid-game rally en route to an 11-3 win.

"This is a huge win because it's a 5A state opponent, and you always want to make a good impression against those teams," said Mary Curtis, Hartselle's winning pitcher. "We'd beaten them before, but it was close."

Hartselle beat Gardendale 3-0 in the finals of the Lady Tiger Invitational in Hartselle on March 31. Since then, the Lady Tigers (32-8) also have picked up a win against then-No. 2 Decatur, coming exactly a week ago.

On a roll, Hartselle coach Shane Alexander said his Lady Tigers are on track with several of the goals they set at the beginning of the season.

"Our goals were to win all our home games and not to lose to a 5A opponent, and that's still happening," Alexander said.

Curtis pitched a complete game for Hartselle, striking out two, while Gardendale (24-12) pitched Kendall Thomas, who struck out four in six innings.

After two scoreless innings, Gardendale's Kellie Johnson drove in Kait Casaday, but a play at the plate by Hartselle catcher Chandler Orr ended the inning for the Lady Rockets with the visitors ahead 1-0.

Hartselle matched the run when Kristy Pevahouse scored on a wild pitch in the bottom of the third.

Gardendale posted two more runs in the fourth, both off Hartselle errors, the only blemishes in what was otherwise a sharp performance by Hartselle in the field.

Behind 3-1, Hartselle put up seven runs in the bottom of the fourth to go ahead 8-3.

Curtis started off the Lady Tigers' rally when a pop up to short center fell, scoring Audrey McClanahan.

Pevahouse later drove in Anna Hall for the tying run.

With the score even at 3, an RBI single by Whitley Collins scored Catie Keel, running for Curtis, putting Hartselle ahead 4-3.

Kayla Orr hit a single that plated Pevahouse for a 5-3 Hartselle lead before Breanna Segars hit a two-RBI single that scored Collins and Orr.

Hall drove in the final run of the inning, scoring Segars, and Hartselle held a 8-3 lead.

Chandler Orr hit a three-run homer in the fifth, driving in Pevahouse and Keel, who was running for Collins.

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