Oak Mountain outlasts Chelsea in elite softball matchup

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Sports Editor

CHELSEA – After back-to-back 6-0 wins to open the season on Friday, Feb. 23, the Oak Mountain Eagles’ softball team fell 5-4 to Hatton on Saturday, Feb. 24, to drop their first game of the season.

On Tuesday, Feb. 27, they were back on the field take on 6A powerhouse Chelsea, who upset Spain Park in their first game of the season and was off to a 6-3 start.

Thanks to 11 hits and 10 runs, several of which came against Chelsea ace Sara Cespedes, the Eagles were able to pick up a 10-5 rebound win over the Hornets to improve to 3-1 on the season.

The game was tightly contested by both sides up until the top of the sixth inning. Tied 6-6 going into the inning, Oak Mountain plated six runs to bust the game open and take a commanding 10-4 lead with little time remaining for Chelsea to make up the deficit.

The first four innings of action, however, were a lot of fun for the fans as the teams went back and forth.

Oak Mountain struck first in the top half of the first inning. Thanks to a leadoff walk from Maddie Katona and an error allowing Jenna Galloway to reach base, the Eagles had two on and nobody out to start the game.

After a pop out and a strike out put two away, M’Kiyah Mitchell stepped to the plate and hit a hard line drive to center field that allowed Katona to come around and score to give Oak Mountain a 1-0 lead.

Chelsea didn’t let that lead stand long as they snatched it right back through two batters in the bottom half of the inning.

After an error allowed Chloe Eidson to reach base, Brooke Burback stepped to the plate and sky rocketed a ball over the center field wall for a two-run home run to give the Hornets a 2-1 lead at the end of the first inning.

Just like the Hornets, Oak Mountain answered immediately over the next two innings. With the bases loaded, Galloway came back to the plate and singled on a line drive to left field, which allowed Lacey Marty to come in for the game-tying run.

One batter later, with just one out in the inning, Abbi Brown hit a sacrifice fly to center field that allowed Bryson Campbell to tag up and score to give the Eagles a 3-2 advantage.

Oak Mountain added to that lead in the top of the third on a Campbell sacrifice bunt that actually allowed Mitchell to come in to score and give the Eagles a 4-2 lead.

Now trailing by two runs, Chelsea needed an answer and the Hornets got it in the bottom of the fourth.

Cespedes was able to pick up a double with one out in the inning to put a runner in scoring position. With two outs in the inning, the Hornets drew a walk and picked up back-to-back singles, one of which was an RBI-single from Skylar Baker, to get within a run of the lead.

With the bases loaded Burback drew a six-pitch walk to pick up an RBI as Abigail Bryars came in to score to knot the game up at 4-4.

The fifth inning was the first of the game where neither team scored a run, but it was made up for in the top of the sixth when Oak Mountain let loose offensively.

Before an out was even recorded, Oak Mountain was able to put together three singles, two doubles and two walks to bring in five of the six runs scored in the inning.

The inning started with an Anna Holsomback walk and the last RBI came on a Holsomback single to center field to bring home the Eagles’ sixth run of the inning as they batted around the order to take control of the game.

Chelsea added one run in the bottom of the seventh, but was unable to get any closer as they fell by the final score of 10-5.

Galloway led Oak Mountain at the plate going 3-for-4 with three RBIs. Mitchell also had a strong game offensively going 2-for-2 with two RBIs.

Seven different Oak Mountain players had a hit in the game, while three had multiple hits. The Eagles also got RBIs from five different players, including four with multiple RBIs.

Marty went the distance in the circle giving up three earned runs and seven hits, while striking out three.

Burback led Chelsea with three RBIs after going 1-for-3 at the plate, while Eidson went 2-for-4 with two runs scored.