Chelsea headed to state tournament
By BAKER ELLIS / Sports Editor
TUSCALOOSA – After finishing as the runner-up in the 6A Area 10 tournament on May 5, losing to Oxford 11-0 in the championship game, Chelsea came in to the 6A North Central Regional tournament with a tough draw. The Lady Hornets however ran through the regional tournament, beating Walker in the first round 11-1 before beating Pinson Valley 5-0 in the second round, and finally beating Gardendale in the finals of the winners’ bracket 6-3, punching their ticket to the 6A state tournament.
Game 1. Chelsea 11 – Walker 1
Five runs in the top of the first inning followed by four runs in the top of the third and two more in the top of the fifth gave Chelsea 11 quick runs against Walker in the opening round of the North Central Regional on May 12. Walker only managed a single run in the bottom of the fourth inning, and the Lady Hornets won the game in five innings, 11-1. Sarah Cespedes took the mound to start the game, throwing just 28 pitches over three innings, giving up no runs and no hits while striking out seven before Camryn Smith came in to pitch the final two innings. McKenzie Bryant, Tristan Ziannis and Alex Smithson each had two hits in the game to lead the lady Hornets in the opening game.
Game 2. Chelsea 5 – Pinson Valley 0
Chelsea and Pinson Valley took a 0-0 game into the third inning before the Lady Hornets scored two runs in the top of the third and the top of the fourth innings, taking a quick 4-0 lead that eventually turned into a 5-0 win. Cespedes pitched the entire second game, throwing 109 pitches over seven innings while giving up just one hit on no runs while striking out 11. Allie Miller went 3-for-4 with one RBI to lead Chelsea from the plate in the second game, punching Chelsea’s ticket to the finals of the winners’ bracket.
Game 3. Chelsea 6 – Gardendale 3
In the finals of the winners’ bracket, Chelsea scored three runs in the bottom of the first inning and never gave up the lead. The Lady Hornets added a fourth run in the bottom of the fifth to take a 4-0 lead before Gardendale plated three runs in the top of the sixth, pulling the score back to 4-3. However, Chelsea scored two more runs in the bottom of the inning, and held off Gardendale in the top of the seventh to get the 6-3 win.
Cespedes once again pitched a complete game for the Lady Hornets, her second in a row. She threw 112 pitches over seven innings, giving up three runs on five hits while striking out five. Miller and Smithson both had two hits in the final game to lead Chelsea from the plate.
Chelsea moved to 27-12 and will face Dothan in the first round of the 6A state tournament in Montgomery on May 19.