Defending champ Thompson headed back to state tourney after downing Spain Park
Published 8:50 pm Thursday, May 11, 2023
By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor
ALBERTVILLE – Behind a big fifth inning, the defending state champion Thompson Warriors were able to outlast county foe Spain Park on Thursday, May 11 in Albertville to claim the runner-up spot at this year’s East Regional tournament and earn a spot back in the Class 7A State Tournament.
The Warriors took an early lead in the game thanks to a two-run opening inning, but they were forced to break a 2-2 tie in the bottom of fifth with a four-run inning that ultimately put them in front 6-2.
Spain Park gave a strong push in the final inning, scoring two runs and putting two more on with one out, but back-to-back groundouts allowed Thompson to prevail victorious and advance to the state tournament.
Thompson’s strong start was thanks to a Chalea Clemmons two-RBI double, capitalizing on singles from Kendall Channell and Olivia Tindell earlier in the inning to give the Warriors a 2-0 advantage.
For a while, it looked like that lead might hold up.
The Warriors put together a scoreless first four innings in the field, but Spain Park responded in the top of the fifth inning with a big hit from Charlee Bennett.
With two outs and two on, Bennett drove a ball to right field that caused trouble, bringing home both runs with a two-RBI triple to even the score with one swing of the bat.
Thompson, however, wasted no time breaking the tie in the bottom of the fifth with a crucial four-run inning that ultimately made the difference.
With one out, the Warriors got a single from Channell, which was followed quickly by an RBI single from Clemmons. She hit a line drive to right field that brought home Morgan Adolphus to make it 3-2.
A third single in a row from Hannah Hobbs then put two aboard before a second out was recorded. A two-out walk from Aubree Hooks kept the inning alive, which set the stage for a big hit from Kadyn Bush.
After fouling off four pitches in a row, she took the eighth pitch of the at bat and drove it to left field for a three-run double to put the Warriors in front 6-2 going to the sixth inning.
A scoreless sixth inning ensued, but Spain Park wasn’t done yet.
The Jags came out in the top of the seventh down to their final three outs and tried to rally.
Following an out, catcher’s interference put one runner on for Katie Flannery, who blasted a two-run home run to right field that brought the Jaguars to within two runs.
A single from Bennett and an intentional walk to dangerous hitter Maggie Daniel put two aboard with one out.
Hooks, however, settled in from there and forced a groundout to shortstop Dailynn Motes and a groundout back to herself for the game-clinching out.
Clemmons led the team with three RBIs on two hits, while Bush also finished with three RBIs on one hit. Channell finished the game with three hits to lead the team, while Hooks added two.
In the circle, Hooks got the complete game win by allowing four runs on eight hits and three walks with four strikeouts.
The win marked the second elimination game in a row for the Warriors, who got revenge in a 4-3 victory against Tuscaloosa County earlier in the day.
Following a loss to Hewitt-Trussville to kick off the regional tournament, Thompson took on the Wildcats in a must-win game in the loser’s bracket.
The Warriors scored first to take a 1-0 lead in the first inning, but the Wildcats scored three in a row between the third and fourth innings to make it 3-1.
Thompson, however, scored two in the bottom of the sixth to tie the game and then walked off with a Motes sac fly to pick up a 4-3 win.
With the victory, the Warriors not only stayed alive, but they took down a Tuscaloosa County team that beat them twice in the area tournament to claim the area championship.
Hobbs finished with two hits and two RBIs in the win, while Motes and Channell each had one hit and one RBI.
Bush got the win in the circle, tossing the final three innings and allowing no runs on three hits and a walk with a strikeout. Hooks got the start and gave up three runs on five hits and two walks with two strikeouts in four innings of work.
Thompson will now head to Oxford next Friday, May 19 to compete in the state tournament with hopes of defending the Class 7A title.