Spain Park softball wins early season tourney, starts 7-0

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Sports Editor

PHENIX CITY – Redemption is clearly on the minds of the Spain Park softball team as they look to get back to the state championship in head coach CJ Hawkins’ 10th year at the helm.

After coming up just short in a 9-2 loss to Sparkman in the championship series last year, the Jags have one goal in mind, to get back to that position and this time, bring home the Blue Map.

They kicked off the 2017 season in dominating fashion starting with a 13-3 win over Smiths Station on Thursday, Feb. 23, before traveling to take part in the Sidney Cooper Invitational at Phenix City High School over the weekend.

The Lady Jags were able to string together six wins in the tournament to bring home an early season championship and start their redemption year with an impressive 7-0 record.

Game 1: Spain Park 3 Lee Montgomery 1

In game one of the tournament, the bats weren’t really on fire for either team, but Kate Campbell did everything she needed to on the mound to give the Jags an opening game win. Campbell went five innings giving up just five hits and one unearned run, while striking out one. Spain Park picked up an early run in the bottom of the first before Lee tied that score in the top of the third. SPHS ended the game with two unanswered runs, one in the bottom of the third and one in the fourth. Maddie Majors went 2-3 from the plate with a triple while Annabelle Widra went 1-2 with a double to lead the Jags at the plate.

Game 2: Spain Park 6 Wetumpka 5 

Game two of the tournament created a lot of excitement as it took eight innings for the Jags to notch a 6-5 win. Early on it looked like it would be all Spain Park as they scored four unanswered runs in the first three innings. Wetumpka picked up three runs in the top of the fourth and more importantly two in the top of the fifth to take 5-4 lead meaning the Jags needed a run in the bottom half of the inning to continue the game.

They got that fifth run without even notching a hit in the inning thanks to several errors and passed balls which allowed Julianna Cross to come home. Wetumpka didn’t score a singl run in extra innings and finally in the bottom of the eighth, Spain Park pulled out the walk off run. Cross went 2-4 with four runs scored. Mary Katherine Tedder also had a nice game going 1-3 with two RBIs, one homerun and two runs scored.

Game 3: Spain Park 7 Dallas County 6

After Dallas County built a 6-0 lead through the top of the second, Spain Park scored four in the bottom of the second and three in the bottom of the fourth to end the game with seven unanswered runs to win 7-6. Heading into the bottom of the fourth the Jags still trailed 6-4, but thanks to three runs with two outs, they came out on top after Jenna Olszewkie singled to third base to score Caroline Parker for another walk off win. Six different Jag players picked up a hit in the game, while five of those six added an RBI.

Game 4: Spain Park 12 Handley 5

In game four, Spain Park’s bats really came alive with nine hits from eight different players. They scored three in the first two innings and six more in the bottom of the third to put things away. Tedder went 1-3 with her second homer of the day giving her three RBIs in the game. Widra went 2-2 with two RBIs and a run scored. Out of the Jags’ 12 runs, 10 of them came off of an RBI.

Game 5: Spain Park 6 Hoover 1

In the semifinals of the tournament, it was only fitting that crosstown rival Hoover sat in the Jags way of making it to the championship. The Bucs struck first in the top of the first inning with a run, but that was followed by six unanswered runs from Spain Park as they went on to win 6-1. Majors had another triple as she went 2-3 with an RBI and two runs scored. Widra went four innings in the circle allowing just four hits and one unearned run while striking out seven.

Game 6: Spain Park 7 James Clemens 6 

The Jags narrowly held on in the championship game after Widra forced a pop out to second base with a runner on third to preserve the 7-6 win. Spain Park scored four in the top of the first to set the tone of the game. James Clemens then put up two runs in the second, third and fourth inning to try and claw their way to a come from behind win. Thankfully a Cross single in the top of the fourth brought home that seventh run as an extra insurance that Spain Park needed. Tedder went 2-3 in the game with two runs scored. Mary Kate Teague went 2-2 with two doubles and three RBIs in a strong championship performance.