Thompson staves off elimination, advances to final day of state tournament

Published 8:18 pm Friday, May 19, 2023

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor

OXFORD – The Thompson Warriors will have a chance to defend their Class 7A State Championship on Saturday, May 20, after staving off elimination twice on Friday, May 19 at Oxford’s Choccolocco Park.

The Warriors dropped their first game of the state tournament to Fairhope in a 2-1 battle, but they bounced back in a big way with wins of 17-2 against Enterprise and 7-2 against Central-Phenix City to advance in the loser’s bracket to the final day of the state tournament, making the defending champions one of the final four teams left standing in the 7A classification.

Thompson will take on Sparkman at 9 a.m. on Saturday morning looking to advance to a matchup with Hewitt-Trussville at 10:45 a.m. for a spot in the state championship against Fairhope.

In the opening game of the tournament, the Warriors took a 1-0 lead on Fairhope in the top of the third, but they ultimately left a runner on third after a double play ended the inning.

Fairhope then answered with a two-out rally in the bottom half, stringing together four consecutive singles with the final one bringing home two runs for what became a 2-1 win for the Pirates.

Thompson, however, didn’t panic going into its first must-win game of the day against Enterprise.

The Warriors put the offensive struggles of game one behind them quickly and totaled 17 runs in the win-or-go-home matchup.

They scored six in the first, one in the third and then 10 in the fourth to end the game with a 15-run win in four innings.

Chalea Clemmons led the way with a 3-for-3 game featuring five RBIS, including a three-run home run, while Dailynn Motes had a big game as well with a 3-for-4 showing featuring a two-run home run, a double and a single with three RBIs.

Laney Williams ended the game with a two-run home run in the bottom of the fourth, while Hannah Hobbs finished 2-for-3 with two RBIs. Kadyn Bush added two hits and an RBI, while Mallory Flournoy finished with a hit and two RBIs and Aubrey Hooks finished with a hit and one RBI.

Hooks got the start and win in the circle with a perfect three innings featuring two strikeouts.

Thompson then faced a difficult Central-Phenix City team to end the day, but the Warriors were able to earn redemption from a two-run extra-inning loss in the regular season.

Just like the first elimination game, the bats started hot for the Warriors, who scored four runs in the bottom of the first to take a quick 4-0 lead.

They then added one more in the bottom of the second before the Red Devils cut into the deficit with a two-run top of the third to make it 5-2.

Thompson, however, kept cool and polished off a 7-2 win with a scoreless final four innings in the field and a two-run fifth to earn all of the insurance needed.

Clemmons continued her hot play at the plate with a 3-for-3 game featuring two RBIs and a walk, while Hobbs finished 2-for-3 with three RBIs. Bush also added two hits with two RBIs, while Olivia Tindell finished 2-for-3. Motes, Williams and Hooks each finished with a hit.

In the circle, Clemmons went 4 2/3 striking out 10 and giving up two runs on four hits and two walks, while Hooks finished off the game and gave up no runs on one hit and one walk with two strikeouts.

Thompson will now be one of the final four teams left in the 7A classification for the second year in a row. The Warriors will need four consecutive wins to defend their title and two to get their shot at Fairhope on Saturday afternoon.