Lady Dogs win annual Classic
The Montevallo High School Lady Bulldogs softball squad rode three strong pitching performances and some timely offense to post a 3-0 mark and take the championship of the MHS Lady Dog Classic last Saturday at Orr Park.
MHS surrendered just four runs all day in defeating Shades Mountain Christian, Briarwood Christian, and Chelsea to take its first tournament title of the season.
Briarwood finished the tournament at 2-1, Chelsea went 1-2, and Shades Mountain was winless at 0-3.
Montevallo 2, SMC 1
After three scoreless innings, the Lady Dogs got on the board in the bottom of the fourth when Haley Dennis drew a walk and pinch runner Lauren Stephens raced home on a shallow fly ball by Brittney Farrington.
The 1-0 score would stand until the sixth, when Shades Mountain tied the score on a pair of walks and a two-out double.
Starting pitcher Katie Jones (3-0) struck out the next batter, however, to end the threat and gave MHS a final chance to win as time expired in the sixth.
With one out in the final frame, Montevallo loaded the bases on a Kristen Simcik single and free passes to Leslie Hall and Molly Walker.
Pinch runner Shawnkitta Moore was forced at the plate for the second out, bringing Dee Dee Ray up to bat with the game on the line.
After working the pitcher to a full count, Ray drew a walk to force home the game-winning run.
Simcik and Walker picked up Montevallo’s only two hits of the game, with Walker reaching base on three other occasions via two walks and one hit by pitch.
Ray also drew three walks in the game.
Jones went the distance for the win, giving up just two hits and five walks while striking out eight.
Montevallo 5, Briarwood 2
The Lady Bulldogs once again took an early lead, this time scoring a pair of runs in the top of the third.
With one out, Melissa Staffney drilled a triple to the right-center field gap, then scored on an errant pickoff throw.
Following a walk to Dee Dee Ray, Amy Pickett slapped a double to left center to drive her home.
The Lady Lions answered right back in the bottom of the inning, tying the game at 2-2 on a pair of singles, a walk, and a sacrifice.
They would prove, however, to be the last runs that Briarwood would get.
Following a scoreless fourth, Montevallo iced the game in the fifth with three runs on singles by Ray, Sarah McMinn, and Leslie Hall.
Hall’s two-out shot drove in McMinn and Haley Dennis, who had reached on a fielder’s choice.
Senior pitcher Molly Walker (6-3) earned the victory, scattering three hits and striking out four.
Montevallo 6, Chelsea 1
MHS got another stellar pitching performance and exploded for six runs in the third inning to seal the tournament title with the victory over the Lady Hornets.
After both teams struggled offensively in the first two innings, the Lady Dogs sent twelve batters to the plate in the third stanza to give senior pitcher Sarah McMinn (11-6) all the support she would need.
Molly Walker got a leadoff single to begin an incredible streak of seven consecutive hits for the Lady Bulldogs.
Included in the offensive surge were singles by Brittney Farrington, Melissa Staffney, Amy Pickett, Haley Dennis, and McMinn, plus a double by Dee Dee Ray.
After a brief break on a fly ball by Hall, MHS got another pair of singles from Lauren Stephens and Walker, her second hit of the inning.
All told, the Lady Dogs had picked up six runs on nine hits in the inning.
Chelsea did manage to put one run on the board in the fourth inning, but that would be the last of the offense for both teams.
After the Lady Hornets plated their lone run, both teams’ pitchers combined to record the final 23 outs on just 41 pitches.
For the game, Walker led MHS with three hits in four at bats to garner enough votes for tournament MVP honors.
McMinn, an all-tournament selection as well, went 2 for 2 with an RBI.
Ray was Montevallo’s third all-tournament choice with an on-base percentage of .700 for the day.
The Lady Bulldogs face a busy week coming off their tournament victory.
After traveling to West Blocton on Monday and hosting Greensboro on Tuesday of this week, MHS will host Vincent on Thursday and Shelby County on Friday.
Montevallo’s final regular season game is slated for next Monday as the Lady Dogs entertain Chelsea