AREA SOFTBALL TOURNAMENT: Clemmons’ 1-hitter leads Cullman past Muscle Shoals 4-0

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Cullman’s Chalea Clemmons allowed just one hit in the Lady Bearcats’ 4-0 opening round win over Muscle Shoals Thursday night. (Martha Needham/The Cullman Tribune)

HARTSELLE, Ala. – After rain showers delayed the start of area tournaments all over the state, Cullman was finally able to hit the field in Hartselle to face Muscle Shoals in the opening round of this year’s 6A, Area 14 Tournament. After a slow start from both teams, the Lady Bearcats erupted for four runs in the fifth inning to take a late lead and Chalea Clemmons allowed just one hit in seven innings to secure a 4-0 win over the Lady Trojans.

Both teams combined for just one hit in the first three innings, a single from Shana Guest in the top of the third, and Chalea Clemmons struck out the side in the bottom half of the third to keep Muscle Shoals’ bats cool. Clemmons drove a single into right field to give the ‘Cats a base runner in the top of the fourth but they were still unable to push a run across.

A weather delay hit just as the bottom of the fourth began but after waiting out the storm for about an hour, Clemmons picked right back up where she left off and struck out three more Lady Trojans. Shana Guest reached first on an error in the top of the fifth and another error allowed Olivia Britton to reach first base safely as well. Haley Shannon singled into left field to load up the bases with two outs and Faith Guest made Muscle Shoals pay with a bases-clearing triple into right field that gave Cullman a 3-0 lead. Clemmons kept the big inning going with an RBI double that drove in Guest from third and put the Lady Bearcats on top 4-0 going into the bottom of the fifth.

The Lady Trojans went down in order once again in the bottom of the sixth and the ‘Cats went into the final frame just three outs away from advancing through the winner’s bracket. Clemmons went back out to pitch the bottom of the seventh and secured the final three outs to wrap up a 4-0 win for the Lady Bearcats.

Faith Guest (triple) led Cullman with three RBIs in the win and Clemmons (one RBI) finished with a pair of hits as well. Shana Guest and Shannon each added a hit for the Lady Bearcats. Clemmons tossed a complete game, allowing just one hit and striking out nine batters.

Cullman will return to Hartselle tomorrow to face the Lady Tigers in the winner’s bracket at 2 p.m.

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