AREA SOFTBALL TOURNAMENT: Holly Pond tops J.B. Pennington 14-4 to win area title

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The Holly Pond Lady Broncos defeated J.B. Pennington 14-4 Friday night to win this year’s 3A, Area 13 Tournament Championship. (Martha Needham/The Cullman Tribune)

HOLLY POND, Ala. – Rainy weather delayed area tournaments all over the state earlier this week but the Lady Broncos were finally able to get back on their home field Friday night to play for a 3A, Area 13 championship. After a slow start in the first two innings, Holly Pond exploded in the third and put 10 runs on the board to take a commanding lead and was able to pull away and defeat the Lady Tigers 14-4 to capture the area crown.

Holly Pond’s Samantha Giles led off the bottom of the first inning with a bunt single, then after she moved to third on a wild pitch, Bai Widner hit an RBI groundout to give the Lady Broncos a 1-0 lead. Holly Pond added to their lead in the bottom of the second as Brooke Hill picked the perfect time to hit her first home run of the season as she lined the first pitch over the center field fence to increase the Lady Bronco lead to 2-0 after two innings.

J.B. Pennington hit back-to-back one-out singles in the top of the third, but starter Lexie Smith got the final two outs of the inning to keep the score at 2-0. Holly Pond broke the game wide open in their half as they sent 12 batters to the plate. Giles and Widner scored on a Lady Tiger error, then later on in the inning, Hill hit an RBI single to make it 5-0. They weren’t done yet that inning as Rebecca Bell hit a two-run double to left field, then Addison Armstrong hit an RBI double of her own to center field. Widner hit a two-run single to center field as the Lady Broncos went into the top of the fourth inning up, 10-0.

But the Lady Tigers got on the scoreboard in the fourth as they scored two runs on a pair of Holly Pond errors, then they added an RBI groundout and an RBI single later in the inning and the Lady Bronco lead was trimmed to 10-4. Holly Pond tacked on three more runs in their half as Kaylee Stallings scored on another J.B. Pennington error, Madyson Rickman scored on a passed ball, and Bell scored on another error to make it a 13-4 game.

The Lady Broncos ended the game in the bottom of the fifth. Stallings hit a two-out single, then Hill lined an RBI triple to right field to help seal the 14-4 win for Holly Pond to secure the area championship.

Hill led the way for Holly Pond with three hits and three RBIs, while Widner added a hit and three RBIs as well. Bell ended up with a hit and two RBIs and Addison Armstrong collected a hit and an RBI. Stallings added two hits, while Giles, Rickman, and Simmons each added a hit in the game. The Lady Broncos will travel to Florence next Friday to compete in the North Regional Tournament.

Other area tournament scores:

Guntersville 5 – Fairview 4 (5A, Area 14)

Fairview looked to keep its season alive on Friday afternoon as they took on Guntersville with a chance to go to the area championship game on the line. Despite their best efforts, the Lady Aggies fell just short at the end to the Lady Wildcats, 5-4.

Guntersville hit an RBI double in the top of the first to give them a quick 1-0 lead, but Fairview countered in their half. Kloie Watson drew a one-out walk, then Emma Garcia reached on an infield single. One out later, Emma Roberts lined a two-run single to center field to give the Lady Aggies a 2-1 lead after one. 

The Lady Wildcats tied the game at two in the top of the third on a Fairview error, then they broke the tie in the next inning on an RBI single and they later added a two-run double that same inning to make it 5-2. The Lady Aggies cut into the deficit in the bottom of the fourth as Roberts scored on a wild pitch.  In the fifth inning, Garcia reached on an error and made it to second on that same error, then Kaitlyn Benson lined an RBI single to center field to make it a 5-4 game after five innings.

Fairview kept it at a one-run deficit going into their final at-bats, but they were unable to get a rally started as the Lady Aggies went down in order and their season comes to an end as they ended up falling just one run short 5-4.

Roberts finished the game with a hit and two RBIs for Fairview, while Benson added a hit and an RBI. Garcia and Jaycee Aleman each collected a hit in the contest as well. The Lady Aggies finish the season with a record of 11-18 and will lose three seniors to graduation: Kyleigh Aleman, Kloie Watson, and Deavan Fulmer. But they will have a lot of great, young talent coming back next season as they look to get into the postseason in 2022.

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