STATE SOFTBALL TOURNAMENT: Good Hope’s postseason run ends with 10-5 loss to White Plains

The Lady Raiders fell to White Plains 10-5 in the 4A State Tournament Saturday to end their season 33-11. (Nick Griffin for The Cullman Tribune)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Good Hope posted an impressive 33-11 record, won an area title and fought through rain delays to capture a regional crown this season but the Lady Raiders’ postseason run came to an end against White Plains at Lagoon Park Saturday morning in the 4A State Tournament.

Good Hope dropped its first matchup of the tournament on Friday to Alabama Christian Academy 7-2 to move into the loser’s bracket. The Lady Raiders stayed alive with a 5-0 win over American Christian Academy Friday night but their game against White Plains was suspended until Saturday morning due to weather. Good Hope faced the Lady Wildcats in a rematch of last week’s West-Central Regional title game but couldn’t put White Plains away a second time, falling 10-5.

The Lady Wildcats led off the game with a solo homer to take a 1-0 lead, but the Lady Raiders responded quickly. A 2-run double from Angelina Flanagan put Good Hope on top 2-1 in the bottom of the first and that lead held until the third.

White Plains tied things up at 2 with an RBI double in the top of the third but the Lady Raiders were able to get back in front in the bottom half of the inning when Sidnie English crossed the plate on a wild pitch to make it 3-2. The Lady Wildcats answered with an RBI single and a 2-run double in the top of the fourth and added one more run on an error to take a 6-3 lead over Good Hope going into the fifth.

An RBI double from Bailey Swann cut the lead to 6-4 in the bottom of the fifth but White Plains had one more big inning left in them. The Lady Wildcats plated four runs in the top of the seventh to take a 10-4 lead into the final frame and despite an RBI single from Rebecca Norris trimming the lead to 5, it was too little too late for the Lady Raiders and White Plains pulled away to win it 10-5.

Flanagan was 4-for-4 at the plate with two RBIs in the loss and Swann (one RBI) and Tucker each collected a pair of hits as well.

Good Hope head coach Tim Tucker was pleased with the way his team came out and played overall but says they just couldn’t make quite as many plays defensively as they did in their first matchup with the Lady Wildcats.

“I think altogether the girls played well. The pitching was good enough to do what we needed to do, we hit the ball well enough to do what we needed to do, and it just came down to a couple plays,” Tucker said. “Last week we made all the plays, but this week we didn’t.”

Coach Tucker reflected on the group of girls that he’s had to work with this year and talked about the drive they had to get to this point after a few disappointing finishes.

“It’s been a great season. We’ve had great leadership from our five seniors on this team that were determined after not getting where they wanted to get the last few years they’ve had in the past,” Tucker said. “They set a goal this summer when we started working in June to be here and they played like it all year. It wasn’t just a dream, they backed it up with their play on the field.”

Tucker is not only proud and happy for this year’s seniors after what they accomplished; he’s looking forward to the impact they’ve had on future generations of Lady Raiders and working to get back to Montgomery.  

“Overall it was just a great season with a great group of girls. I told them out there we don’t want to let this be the last of Good Hope Softball,” Tucker said. “We want to keep the legacy going and want the younger girls to step up now that five great seniors are gone. We’ve got great ball players on the team now and we’ve got great ball players sitting in the wings ready to play next year. We’ve seen what it took to get here this year and we’ll start again in June and get back.”

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