Kingwood Christian finishes runner-up at state softball tournament

By WESLEY HALLMAN / Sports Editor

Kingwood Christian School softball players were put through the gauntlet during the 2011 season.

The Lions had a total of four days off without either a practice or a game, excluding Sundays, during the season.

The long hours paid off with a first ever appearance in the Alabama Independent Schools Association Class 1A championship game May 7.

Kingwood Christian fell just short of an state title following a 7-2 loss to Glenwood Academy, but the loss didn’t take away everything the Lions accomplished this season.

Kingwood Christian (46-5) set a number of school record during the year, including the mark for wins in a season with 46 victories.

“It’s been a fun ride,” said Kingwood Christian coach Jeff Gillespie. “We broke a lot of records.”

The Lions’ endurance was tested in the AISA Class 1A state tournament.

Kingwood Christian dropped its first game in the tournament to Hooper Academy before staving off elimination in four consecutive games. The Lions defeated Lee-Scott Academy in nine innings and topped Tuscaloosa Academy in the AISA Class 1A semifinals to reach their first ever state championship game.

Erin Jones, who set the record for home runs in a season this year, led the Lions with three home runs in the state tournament.

Jones was named to the all-tournament team along with teammates Whitney Gillespie and Madeline Lee.

After fighting off elimination for so long, Gillespie said the Lions’ fatigue caught up with them in the championship game.

“We kind of ran out of steam at the end,” Gillespie said.