Thompson goes 3-0 on opening day of state tournament, will play for championship tomorrow
Published 8:22 pm Wednesday, May 18, 2022
By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor
OXFORD – Down to their final out in the top of the seventh and trailing by a run against two-time defending state champion Hewitt-Trussville, the Thompson Warriors never lost faith.
While they would have remained alive even with a loss, Eleanor DeBlock and Dailynn Motes didn’t want to risk the path of the loser’s bracket.
DeBlock stepped in first and down to the team’s last strike in a 3-2 count, she lined a double to left field to keep the Warriors alive and bring Motes to the plate.
After a first-pitch ball, Motes wasted no time making a difference. She drove a line drive to center field and DeBlock was able to beat out the throw for the game-tying run to force extras.
An out was recorded after that, but the momentum had completely swung in Thompson’s favor.
Pitcher Chalea Clemmons then continued a remarkable day by putting the Huskies down in order in the bottom of the seventh.
That quickly got Thompson’s offense back to the plate, and the Warriors capitalized.
Laney Williams led off with a single, Ella Pate followed with an RBI triple, Clemmons then hit a one-out RBI single and DeBlock came up with another big hit, driving a two-out, two-RBI double to center field to make it 7-3.
Hewitt got one on in the bottom half of the extra inning, but that was followed by a strikeout and ground out to preserve the thrilling comeback win for the Warriors and punch a ticket to the state championship game.
With the 7-3 victory, Thompson advanced to the championship game on the winner’s side of the bracket, meaning they’ll have two chances to win one game to claim the Class 7A title.
Thompson will either take on Hewitt-Trussville, Fairhope or Hoover in the championship.
In the game against the Huskies that earned them a spot in the title game, the Warriors took a 1-0 lead in the top of the third on a sac fly from Olivia Tindell.
Hewitt, however, responded with two in the bottom of the fourth to take the lead.
Thompson used another sacrifice fly from Motes to even the game in the top of the fifth, but the Huskies responded right away with an RBI single in the bottom half.
Trailing 3-2, that’s when Thompson’s heroic finish occurred.
DeBlock finished the game 4-for-4 with two RBIs, while Motes finished 2-for-4 with two RBIs. Pate added two hits and one RBI, while Clemmons had one hit and one RBI. Tindell also had an RBI in the win.
DeBlock got the start and allowed two runs on four walks and one hit, while Clemmons finished off the final four innings and allowed one run on three hits and a walk with five strikeouts.
Thompson finished the day 3-0 after also beating Spain Park 4-2 and Central-Phenix City 9-0.
Against Spain Park, Thompson had to fight hard for the win with more late heroics.
The Warriors took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first and held that until the sixth when Spain Park scored two to take a 2-1 advantage late in the game.
Thompson, however, responded in the bottom of the sixth with three runs to take the lead and eventually win 4-2.
Clemmons and DeBlock both finished 3-for-3 with an RBI in the win, while Pate finished 1-for-2 with an RBI.
DeBlock picked up the game-one win by allowing two runs on five hits and four walks with two strikeouts.
That gave the Warriors confidence and they built off of it in the next game against Central-Phenix City.
Thompson scored six in the top of the third and never looked back. The Warriors then went on to add three more in the sixth.
In that win, the Warriors were led by Laney Williams and Pate. Both finished 2-for-4 with two RBIs each, while Motes finished with three hits and an RBI. Tindell added two more hits and an RBI, while Jenna Williams finished with one hit and an RBI. Clemmons also added an RBI in the win.
Most impressive, however, was Clemmons’s effort in the circle. She struck out 15 and gave up two hits in six innings of work to help shut out the Red Devils and set Thompson up with a 2-0 record.
The Warriors will play in the championship game at Oxford’s Choccolocco Park on Wednesday at 1:30 p.m.