REGIONAL SOFTBALL TOURNAMENT: Cullman hammers Jasper 15-2 in opening round

The Lady Bearcats celebrate at the plate during their 15-2 win over Jasper Wednesday. (Nick Griffin/The Cullman Tribune)

FLORENCE, Ala. – The Lady Bearcats traveled to Florence’s Coffee O’Neal Park Wednesday to compete in this year’s 6A North Regional Tournament, and they hung 15 runs on the board to take their first game of the tournament comfortably. Cullman scored at least two runs in all five innings of its 15-2 win over Jasper in the opening round and will advance to play in the winner’s bracket later tonight.

The Lady Bearcats struck early in the top of the first when Haley Shannon drew a leadoff walk and Faith Guest singled up the middle to put a pair of runners on base. Chalea Clemmons ripped an RBI single into left field to score Shannon and make it a 1-0 game and two pitches later, Savannah laced an RBI single into right field to make it 2-0. Carlie Burnham drove in Clemmons with an RBI groundout to stretch the lead to 3-0 and Davis scored on an error to give Cullman a 4-0 lead going into the bottom half of the first.

The Lady Bearcats added to their lead in the top of the second with RBI singles from Davis and Burnham and led the way 6-0 in the bottom of the second, but Jasper managed to push a run across and trim the lead to 6-1 going into the third. Cullman answered in the top half of the third with a 2-run bomb off the bat of Clemmons to make it an 8-1 game and in the fourth, Clemmons collected two more RBIs with a single into right that made it 10-1.

The Lady Bearcats stayed hot in the fifth, adding to their lead when Olivia Britton launched a 3-run shot over the fence in left field to put them in front 13-1. Faith Guest drilled an RBI double into left to plate another run and after another RBI single from Clemmons, Cullman went into the bottom of the inning with a commanding, 15-1 lead.

The Lady Vikings were able to put another run on the board in their half of the fifth, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the early lead and the Lady Bearcats held on to defeat Jasper 15-2 in five innings.

Emma Claire Wilson was effective for Cullman in the circle, allowing two runs on just four hits and striking out nine in the win. Clemmons finished her stellar day at the plate 5-for-5 with a homerun and six RBIs. Britton was 3-for-4 with a bomb of her own and three RBIs and both Davis (two) RBIs and Shana Guest posted three hits as well. Burnham and Faith Guest each added two hits and an RBI for the Lady Bearcats.

Hazel Green 10 – Cullman 0 (Game Two)

After routing Jasper in the opening round, the Lady Bearcats advanced through the winner’s bracket and took on Hazel Green Wednesday night.

Hazel Green took the lead early after stringing some hits together in the top of the first and led the way 3-0 going into the second. The Lady Trojans loaded up the bases in the top of the second, but a strikeout and a double play got Cullman out of the jam.

After a scoreless third inning, Hazel Green plated another run in the top of the fourth to pull ahead 4-0. Haley Shannon reached first safely with a bunt single, and Faith Guest drove a double into left field to give the Lady Bearcats a pair of runners in scoring position but a strikeout and two flyouts stranded the runners and kept Cullman off the board.

The Lady Trojans managed to load the bases with no outs again in the top of the fifth but just like before, the Lady Bearcats’ defense was able to retire the next three batters and get out of the inning unscathed. Singles from Olivia Britton and Sarah Herfurth gave the ‘Cats a pair of runners in the bottom half of the fifth but a strikeout stranded them on the base paths and Cullman trailed 4-0 going into the sixth.

A solo homerun stretched the lead to 5-0 in the top of the sixth and Hazel Green put the game out of reach in the top half of the seventh. A pair of passed balls and an error made it an 8-0 game and a 2-run homerun put the Lady Trojans on top 10-0 with the Lady Bearcats down to their final three outs. Shana Guest drew a walk to reach base safely but that was all Cullman could get going and Hazel Green went on to win it 10-0.

Faith Guest posted two hits for Cullman in the loss and Shannon, Britton and Herfurth each finished with a hit as well.

Cullman will return to Florence tomorrow to face Fort Payne in an elimination game at 10:45 a.m.

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