After dominating their first three games of the 2003 Shelby County softball tournament, the Oak Mountain Lady Eagles saved the drama for the end &045; literally.
Katie Cooley blasted a grand slam over the scoreboard at Montevallo’s Orr Park to lift her squad to the county title, knocking off Pelham 4-2 in the tournament finale.
Stacye Horne was dubbed the tournament Most Valuable Player. Horne went 7-for-10 at the plate (.700) and scored 6 runs during the tournament. The senior center fielder also had one RBI and 2 stolen bases.
&uot;Katie has started all four years for us here at Oak Mountain, and she is a great player and a great leader,&uot; OMHS head coach Danny Dubose said. &uot;We will definitely miss her next season.&uot;
Oak Mountain rolled into the championship game by defeating Thompson, Calera, and Montevallo, while Pelham fought its way out of the loser’s bracket to earn a spot in the finals.
The Lady Panthers defeated Shelby County in the opening round, then lost to Montevallo.
PHS then bounced back to down Thompson, Shelby County before earning a rematch with MHS.
In the semifinal, the Lady Bulldogs jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the opening stanza.
Lauren Stephens walked to start the inning and Brittney Farrington’s bunt was mishandled.
Amy Pickett and Katie Jones both delivered singles to drive in the two runs.
Pelham answered back in the third when an MHS error followed
back-to-back singles by Taylor Honnell and Brandy Lavender.
The score remained 2-2 until the bottom of the seventh, when the Lady Panthers’ pitcher Alicia Carter drove a ball deep to right field to score Lavender with the winning run.
In the championship game, Pelham scratched out just three hits off Oak Mountain starter Kari Gunnells, who struck out 10 batters in the final game.
One of those PHS hits, however, was a two-run double by Ryan Elsea in the sixth inning, setting the stage for Cooley’s mammoth shot to win it.
&uot;That’s about as exciting a finish as we’ve had in the county tournament in a while,&uot; said Montevallo head coach and tournament director Ron Holsombeck.
&uot;Coach (Amy) Sullivan still has a young bunch there at Pelham, but they really know how to gut it out.
Coach (Danny) Dubose is just a class guy and does such a great job at Oak Mountain, and that Katie Cooley is building herself quite a reputation as a clutch hitter.
I’ve seen that kid plat at every level from Dixie ball on up and she’s just amazing.&uot;
&uot;We hit the ball really well in the tournament,&uot; Dubose said. &uot;One thing we need to work on, however, is timely hitting &045; getting the hits with runners in scoring position.&uot;
OMHS collected 42 hits during the tournament.
&uot;I know it sounds funny &045; me saying we need to work on hitting when we collected over 40 hits in the tournament,&uot; Dubose said. &uot;But, we are getting to the very tough part of our schedule and we have to hit with runners on base.&uot;
Lindsay Brogdon and Gunnells joined Horne on the all-tournament team for the Lady Eagles.
Also named all-tourney were Katie Jones and Dee Dee Ray (Montevallo), Kaila Hughes (Chelsea), Carter and Lavender (Pelham), and Kassadie Jones and Dawn Thomas (Shelby County)