REGIONAL SOFTBALL TOURNAMENT: Holly Pond advances with 2-1 win over East Lawrence

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The Holly Pond Lady Broncos defeated East Lawrence 2-1 Friday morning to advance through the winner’s bracket of the North Regional. (Martha Needham/The Cullman Tribune)

FLORENCE, Ala. – Holly Pond traveled to Florence to compete in this year’s Class 3A North Regional Friday and faced off against East Lawrence in their first game of the day. The Lady Broncos relied on a stellar pitching performance from Lexie Smith as well as some timely hits to edge out the Lady Eagles 2-1 and advance through the winner’s bracket.

After going down in order in the bottom of the first inning, Holly Pond looked to get on the scoreboard first in the bottom of the second. Brooke Hill hit a one-out single to center field, then Madyson Rickman lined a double to right field to put runners on second and third with only one out, but an out on the base paths and a strikeout ended the inning for the Lady Broncos. Starter Lexie Smith kept East Lawrence out of the hit column until the top of the fourth inning as the Lady Eagles hit a two-out single, but that was all she allowed that inning as Samantha Giles threw out the East Lawrence runner at second.

In the top of the fifth inning, Holly Pond loaded the bases on back-to-back singles by Hill and Rickman and a Lady Eagle error. Another East Lawrence error allowed Hill to score to give the Lady Broncos a 1-0 lead. Smith worked around back-to-back singles in the bottom of the fifth to get out of the inning. Holly Pond added another run in the bottom of the sixth as they went into the top of the seventh up, 2-0.

East Lawrence scored their first run of the game on a Holly Pond error in the top of the seventh as that made it a one-run game, but after allowing a two-out single, Smith struck out the final batter to end the game as the Lady Broncos defeat the Lady Eagles, 2-1, to move on to the next round.

Hill and Rickman each finished the game with two hits for Holly Pond and Addison Armstrong added a hit as well. Smith went the distance as she allowed just four hits and one unearned run, walked three and struck out four.

Fyffe 12 – Holly Pond 4 (Winner’s bracket)

Holly Pond went down in order in their opening at-bats, and Fyffe hit an RBI double in their half to give them a 1-0 lead. The Lady Devils hit a leadoff home run in the bottom of the second to make it 2-0, but the Lady Broncos got on the scoreboard in the top of the third. Rebecca Bell hit a one-out single and later scored on a Samantha Giles RBI single to make it a 2-1 game.

Fyffe put up seven runs in the bottom of the third on four hits; they also scored on a wild pitch and an error and Holly Pond found themselves down, 9-1, going into the fourth inning. Audrey Armstrong led off the fourth with a single, then after Kaylee Stallings reached on a fielder’s choice, Brooke Hill hit an RBI single to right field to make it a 9-2 game. The Lady Broncos added another run in the fifth inning as Audrey Armstrong hit an RBI single to center field.

The Lady Broncos continued to chip into the Fyffe lead as Madyson Rickman hit a no-doubt solo home run to make it a five-run game. The Lady Devils hit one of their own to lead off the the bottom of the sixth and they added two more runs on three straight Holly Pond errors as the Lady Broncos found themselves down, 12-4, as they were down to their final three outs.

Addison Armstrong hit a leadoff single in the top of the seventh, but that ended up being the only hit of the inning as the Lady Broncos ended up dropping the game, 12-4, to Fyffe.

Giles and Audrey Armstrong each finished with two hits and an RBI for Holly Pond, while Hill and Rickman each added a hit and an RBI in the contest. Addison Armstrong collected a pair of hits while Bell ended up with a hit as well. The Lady Broncos will look to keep their season alive on Saturday morning as they will take on Danville in the loser’s bracket game at 9 a.m.

Thorsby 2 – Cold Springs 0 (2A West Regional, Tuscaloosa)

After splitting its first two games with Lamar County and Isabella yesterday, Cold Springs returned to Tuscaloosa Friday morning to continue competing in the elimination bracket of this year’s 2A West Regional. The Lady Eagles clashed with Thorsby, needing a win to keep their season alive but the Lady Rebels managed to keep Cold Springs off the scoreboard and advance with a 2-0 win.

Neither team recorded a hit in the first three innings, but Thorsby was able to find some offense in the top half of the fourth. An error and an RBI single allowed a pair of runs to score for the Lady Rebels and they carried a 2-0 lead into the bottom half of the inning.

Emma Black singled into left field to give the Lady Eagles their first hit of the game in the bottom of the fourth but back to back strikeouts ended the inning with Cold Springs still trailing 2-0. Thorsby went down in order in the top of the fifth, but the Lady Eagles weren’t able to push any runs across in their half either.

A pair of singles gave the Lady Rebels a pair of runners in the top of the sixth, but an infield fly and a strikeout got Cold Springs out of the jam. Kyla Aaron led off the bottom of the sixth with a single and Journee Swann drew a walk to put a pair of runners on base, but a strikeout stranded them again and the Lady Eagles went into the final frame still trailing 2-0.

After a pair of errors from Cold Springs, Thorsby threatened to add to its lead in the top of the seventh but a pop out to AK Voce at shortstop got the Lady Eagles out of the jam once again. Cold Springs was down to its final three outs in the bottom of the seventh, needing at least two runs to continue playing but couldn’t get the bats going and the Lady Eagles fell in the West Regional 2-0.

Black tossed a complete game for Cold Springs, allowing two runs on just four hits and striking out four. Heidi Nichols, Aaron and Black posted the only three hits for the Lady Eagles in the loss.

Etowah 15 – Good Hope 1 (4A East Regional, Montgomery)

The Lady Raiders ran into the Lady Blue Devils of Etowah for their first matchup at this year’s 4A East Regional and Good Hope had its hands full right out of the gate. The Lady Raiders drew a pair of walks to start the top of the first, but three straight strikeouts stranded the runners and ended the inning.

The Lady Blue Devils plated three runs in the bottom of the first to take an early lead and they extended that lead in the second. Six hits in the bottom of the second led to seven more runs for Etowah and Good Hope found itself behind 10-0 going into the third inning. The Lady Raiders got on the board in the top of the third after Alexandria Steed drew a leadoff walk and Haley Lay drove a single into left field to put runners on the corners. An RBI groundout from Rebekah Norris allowed the runner to score from third and trimmed the lead to 10-1 going into the bottom of the third.

The Lady Blue Devils were able to get the run back with a sacrifice fly in the bottom half of the inning and make it an 11-1 game going into the fourth. Etowah tacked on four more runs in the fourth inning and kept Good Hope off the board the rest of the way to pull ahead and win it 15-1 in five innings.

Bailey Keef and Lay posted the only two hits for the Lady Raiders in the loss.

Check back later for an update on Good Hope’s Friday night game against Cherokee County.

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