PLAYOFF UPDATE: Spain Park softball headed to regionals

Members of Spain Park's softball team congratulate pitcher Julie Knight after a win against Pelham May 1. (Contributed/Tim Knight)

Members of Spain Park’s softball team congratulate pitcher Julie Knight after a win against Pelham May 1. (Contributed/Tim Knight)

By JORDON SEMIEN/For the Reporter

PELHAM — The AHSAA Class 6A,  Area 8 softball tournament came down to a Friday night battle between the number one and number two seeds as the tournament hosts Pelham Panthers took on the resilient Jaguars of Spain Park. The Jags powered their way to a 7-2 win over the favored Panthers in game one before falling in game two. With the runner-up finish, however, Spain Park secured a spot in the regional playoff round.

Spain Park faced double duty on the day, having already beaten the Oak Mountain Eagles in the semifinal. Pelham came into the game having blasted the Jags the night before, 10 to 1. The Panthers turned to their senior ace and UAB commit Rebekah Fox for the start, while the Jags called Julie Knight to the mound.

Kusiak did her best to keep the scoring to a minimal on her way to a three-strikeout night, but the Jaguar offense was too much late in the game. An RBI from Marisa Osga in the sixth with another two in the seventh from Barnes and Meg Moser gave Knight her 20th win on the year and a 7-2 win for the Jags.

Because the Panthers took the win in the first contest, the two teams had to play again to decide the area champion.

The Jaguars jumped out to the early lead when Julianna Cross came home on a bases loaded walk of Destini England. The Panthers tied it up at 1-1 in the bottom of the second, and Spain Park fell behind 2-1 in the bottom of the fourth.

The Jaguars answered in the top of the fifth, as Mary Katherine Tedder’s sacrifice fly scored Casey Kizer and M.K. Bonamy doubled to center brought home Cross to take the 3-2 lead.

Unfortunately for the Jaguars, the Panthers scored two in the bottom of the fifth to take a 5-3 lead. Neither team scored again and the Panthers took the win, and the area title.

Cross led the way at the plate in game two, going 2-for-3 with two runs scored, while Julie Knight went 3.2 innings, allowing one earned run on four hits, with a walk and a strikeout. Haleigh Sisson tosse 2.1 innings, surrendering three earned runs on two hits, with two walks and a strikeout.

Drew Granthum contributed to this report.