Crumpton, Thompson place third in softball state tournament

By BAKER ELLIS / Sports Editor

MONTGOMERY – Less than a week after placing second in the 7A North Central regional qualifier, the Thompson Lady Warriors headed to Montgomery to take part in the 7A state tournament along with seven of the other top softball teams in class 7A. The Lady Warriors came into the state tournament with a 29-14 record in one of the toughest divisions in the state and finished the regular season ranked seventh in class 7A by the ASWA.

The state tournament started off well, with Thompson taking care of business against Central-Phenix City to the tune of a 4-0 win. Senior phenom Haley Crumpton took the mound for the Lady Warriors in the first game and threw a complete game, seven-inning effort where she struck out 10 batters and only allowed two hits.

In the Lady Warriors’ second game, they fell to eventual 7A champion Baker to fall into the consolation bracket, where they faced an uphill slog to make it back into contention for a title.

Thompson shelled Theodore in its first consolation game 7-0 and advanced to face Buckhorn. The Buckhorn game turned into a marathon. Neither team seemed to be able to register a run, and the game went past the seventh inning and into extra innings at a 0-0 stalemate. With each passing inning, the tension rose as the loser was going home and the winner was moving on. Finally, in the top of the 11th inning, Kelsey Edwards and Grace Robertson crossed the plate to give Thompson a 2-0 advantage, which it held on to in the bottom of the 11th to secure the win.

Crumpton took the mound again for the Lady Warriors in the game and pitched another complete game. She threw 11 innings, allowed six hits and struck out four in the game.

After the thrilling extra-inning victory against Buckhorn, Thompson moved on to face Sparkman for a chance at a rematch with Baker for the state title. Crumpton and the Lady Warriors could not complete the comeback, however, and lost to Sparkman 5-3. Crumpton threw every single pitch for the Lady Warriors in five games, throwing a total of 38 innings in the span of two days.

“I was really proud of how our girls battled,” Thompson head coach Jake Parker said. “Our girls battled and competed and bonded together.”

Crumpton was a complete workhorse throughout her senior season and her high school career in total, consistently putting up video game numbers. She pitched every game except for five in her senior season, which worked out to an astounding 295 innings of work on her way to recording a 32-14 record from the mound with a 0.90 ERA and 432 strikeouts. Her career record at Thompson finished at 77-35-2, with 747 innings pitched and a 1.16 ERA, with 979 career strikeouts to her name.

From the plate, Crumpton hit .424 this year, down from her .540 average as a junior. She ended her career with a .446 career average and 66 doubles, five triples and 20 home runs. She has a full-ride scholarship to the University of Mobile to continue her softball career.

The Lady Warriors finished the year with a 34-17 record and a third place finish in the 7A state tournament.