AREA SOFTBALL TOURNAMENTS: Lady Bearcats split with Mortimer Jordan, advance to North Regional

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Cullman’s Haley Shannon slides home safely during the Lady Bearcats’ 4-2 win over Mortimer Jordan Thursday. (Nick Griffin/The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN, Ala. – The Lady Bearcats were back in action at the 6A, Area 13 Tournament Thursday night and after punching their ticket to the North Regional Tuesday, the ‘Cats split a pair of area finals games with Mortimer Jordan to finish as area runners-up.

Cullman 4 – Mortimer Jordan 2 (Game One) (6A, Area 13)

Cullman got in the run column in the bottom of the first. Haley Shannon reached on an infield single and later stole and third. She ended up scoring with two outs to give the Lady Bearcats the early 1-0 lead. Cullman would add to their lead in the bottom of the third. Shannon lined a single to left field to lead off the inning, then Kylie Stracener reached on a Mortimer Jordan error. Olivia Britton was intentionally walked to load the bases. With one out, Reese Hopper lined an RBI single to center field to make it 2-0. A Lady Blue Devil error during the play allowed Britton to score as that made it 3-0. Taylor Au later scored on a wild pitch to push the Lady Bearcat lead to 4-0.

The fifth inning saw Mortimer Jordan get on the scoreboard as they loaded the bases to start out the inning. A passed ball and an error cut it to 4-2, but the Lady Bearcats wouldn’t allow them to get any closer after that. Brie Voss gave up just two hits over the final two innings and Cullman kept their chances of winning the Class 6A, Area 13 title alive as they defeated Mortimer Jordan, 4-2.

Hopper finished with a hit and an RBI for Cullman. Shannon added a pair of hits, while Au and Brooklyn Morton each collected a hit in the contest as well. Voss went the distance for the Lady Bearcats in the win as she gave up just six hits and one earned run, walked none, and struck out one.

Mortimer Jordan 13 – Cullman 3 (Game Two) (6A, Area 13)

Mortimer Jordan struck first in the bottom of the first as they hit a two-run home run with one out to give them an early 2-0 lead. Cullman answered right back in the top of the second. Hopper drew a leadoff walk, then with one out, Morton lined a double to center field to put runners on second and third. Hattie Graham lined a two-run double to left field on the first pitch as that tied things up at two. The Lady Blue Devils, though, broke the tie in their half on a one-out RBI double as that gave them a 3-2 lead. They later added an RBI single and an RBI fielder’s choice to make it 5-2. A bases-loaded walk pushed their lead to 6-2.

The Lady Bearcats cut into the deficit in the top of the fourth as Shannon hit an RBI groundout to make it a 6-3 game. Mortimer Jordan, though, quickly broke the game wide open after that as they hit a pair of RBI singles in their half to increase their lead to 8-3 and they added to their lead in the fifth as a suicide squeeze play made it 9-3. The Lady Blue Devils put up four more runs in the sixth to end the game and Cullman ended up finishing as the Class 6A, Area 13 runner-up after their 13-3 loss to Mortimer Jordan.

Hattie Graham finished with a pair of hits and two RBIs for Cullman. Shannon added an RBI in the contest. Morton ended up with three hits, while Au and Abby Maples each chipped in with a hit of their own.

Cullman will travel to Florence next week to face Hartselle in its first North Regional game.

Hayden 12 – Fairview 0 (5A, Area 12)

Hayden broke a scoreless tie in the second inning as they scored three runs to take a 3-0 lead. They added three more runs in the third, one in the fourth, two in the fifth, and three more in the sixth to take a 12-0 lead. Fairview was held to just one hit through six innings: an Emily Benson double, and the Lady Aggies’ season ended with a 12-0 loss to Hayden.

Jaycee Aleman will be graduating later this month but the Lady Aggies will be looking to bounce back and make an even deeper run in the postseason next year.

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