Hornets inch closer to softball title

Published 5:40 pm Thursday, May 17, 2012

By WESLEY HALLMAN / Sports Editor

The Chelsea High School softball team plated three runs, including a two-run blast by senior Allie Luster, in the top of the 11th inning to lift the Hornets to a win over defending Alabama High School Athletic Association Class 5A state champion Mortimer Jordan in the state tournament May 17, which put the Hornets in the driver’s seat to reach the state championship game.

The Hornets will face St. Paul’s in its next game May 18 at 9 a.m., with the winner clinching a berth in the Class 5A championship game.

After scoring three runs in the top half of the frame, Mortimer Jordan scored two runs before Chelsea escaped in the bottom of the inning after senior Caitlin Bice worked out of a bases-loaded jam to finish off an 11-inning complete-game victory. Jo Jo Johnston recorded an unassisted out on a grounder to second base, which left three Mortimer Jordan base runners stranded to end the game.

Mortimer Jordan plated the first run in the game in the bottom of the first inning when University of Alabama signee Haylie McCleney scored on a sacrifice fly.

Meanwhile, the first nine Hornets went down in order as Mortimer Jordan pitcher Bailey Murphy faced the minimum of nine batters through the first three innings.

The Blue Devils added another run in the bottom of the third inning when McCleney, the lead-off batter, came around to score on a fielder’s choice hit.

Alex Osborn finally broke up a no-hitter through four innings by Bailey with her single in the top of the fifth inning. Jordan Gray provided the Hornets with their second base runner in the top of the sixth inning, where Chelsea finally broke through its first two runs in the game.

Bice plated the runs with her double, which turned into an inside-the-park homer following a pair of Mortimer Jordan errors and allowed two runs to cross the plate to tie the game at 2-2.

Erin Jones and Amanda Mock each reached base on a single in the top of the seventh inning before Jones attempted to score the go-ahead run from second base on a wild pitch. Jones crossed the plate, but Mortimer Jordan appealed to umpires to check if Jones touched third base. The appeal was upheld, striking the run from the scoreboard.

The Hornets plated the go-ahead run in the top of the 11th inning. Gray reached base on an error and advanced to second on a wild pitch before scoring on an RBI single by Johnston. Luster followed Johnston’s single with a two-run homer to give the Hornets some breathing room heading into the final half inning.

Chelsea defeated Scottsboro 12-2 in five innings its Class 5A state tournament opener May 17.

The first six batters in the Chelsea lineup reached base and the Hornets plated three runs in the opening frame on their way to an easy victory.

Osborn led Chelsea offensively as she finished 4-for-4 at the plate, including a triple and a double. Osborn drove in a team-high five runs in the win.

Jones finished 2-for-3 at the plate with a homer and drove in four runs. Bice finished 2-for-4 at the plate. Kacie Craft went 2-for-3 at the plate. Luster finished 2-for-4 at the plate and drove in one run.

Gray finished 1-for-3 at the plate and drove in two runs. Johnston finished 1-for-4 at the plate. Boaz went 1-for-3 at the plate. Mock went 1-for-3 at the plate.

Craft earned the win in the circle in a five-inning complete-game victory.