AREA SOFTBALL TOURNAMENT: Hill’s walk-off leads Holly Pond past Susan Moore 5-3 in extra innings

Holly Pond’s Brooke Hill (57) launched a 2-run walk-off homerun in the bottom of the eighth to lead the Lady Broncos past Susan Moore 5-3 Monday. (Nick Griffin/The Cullman Tribune)

HOLLY POND, Ala. – This year’s 3A, Area 13 Tournament kicked off at Holly Pond High School Monday afternoon and the top-seeded Lady Broncos got things started with a dramatic win over Susan Moore. Seven innings weren’t enough to settle things between these two teams and after the Lady Bulldogs were able to tie it up at 3 in the seventh, Brooke Hill blasted a walk-off 2-run bomb in the bottom of the eighth inning to give Holly Pond a 5-3 win. With the win over the Susan Moore, the Lady Broncos will advance through the winner’s side of the bracket and return to the field Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. for the next round.

A single and an error gave Susan Moore a pair of base runners in the top of the first, but the Lady Broncos got out of the jam to keep the Lady Bulldogs off the board. Holly Pond moved out in front in the bottom half of the first when Madyson Rickman shot a 2-run single into right field and brought Bai Widner and Maggie Nail home to score.

Mattie Earl collected a pair of strikeouts in the top of the second, but a sacrifice fly allowed Susan Moore to cut into the lead and make it a 2-1 game in the third. After a scoreless fourth inning, the Lady Broncos added to their lead in the bottom of the fifth. Nail reached first base with a single up the middle and an error allowed her to advance to third. Rickman lifted a sacrifice fly into right field and Nail crossed the plate to give Holly Pond a 3-1 lead going into the sixth.

However, a single and a pair of errors allowed Susan Moore to push a pair of runs across and tie things up at 3 heading into the bottom of the seventh inning. The Lady Broncos were unable to break the tie in their half of the seventh and we went into extra innings. The Lady Bulldogs went three-up, three down in the top of the eighth and Rickman led off the bottom half of the inning with a double into center field to put the winning run in scoring position. In the end, it didn’t matter which base Rickman was standing on because two pitches later, Brooke Hill launched a walk-off homer into the trees to secure a 5-3 victory for the Lady Broncos.

Earl earned the win on the mound, tossing all eight frames and allowing three runs (one earned) on just five hits and striking out four. Nail finished 4-for-4 at the plate for Holly Pond and Rickman (two hits) posted three RBIs. Hill (HR) added two more RBIs on the walk-off.

The Lady Broncos will be back in action tomorrow at 4:30 p.m. to face either Brindlee Mountain or J.B. Pennington.

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