Spain Park wins four at Hoover Classic to close regular season

Published 6:43 pm Monday, April 22, 2024

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By ANDREW SIMONSON | Sports Editor

HOOVER – The Spain Park Jaguars took four wins in their hometown at the Hoover Classic at the Hoover Met Complex from April 19-20.

Spain Park kicked off the weekend with a 6-4 win over the Mortimer Jordan Blue Devils and 10-1 win over the Pleasant Grove Spartans on Friday, April 19 and a 4-0 victory over the Brooks Lions and 8-3 win over the Austin Black Bears on Saturday, April 20 as part of a 4-1 weekend.

The Jags started the tournament strong with a one-two-three top of the first inning before they got ahead to a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the frame.

Two walks and a hit by pitch loaded up the bases for Allie Whitaker, and she came up in the big spot with a two-run double to open up the lead. Klara Thompson then scored another run off a ground out to make the lead three.

The next inning, Caroline Charles hit a lead-off single and advanced to second off a sacrifice bunt. The next two batters walked to load up the bases, and Charlee Bennett then plated a pair of runs off an RBI single, increasing the lead to five.

Mortimer Jordan then got a run back in the top of the third thanks to a two-out RBI single.

However, Spain Park restored its five-run lead in the bottom half of the frame after Thompson came home off a Reagan Roberts sacrifice fly, which made the score 6-1.

The Blue Devils rallied in the top of the fifth with a two-run double and a run off an error, but the Jags secured the third out to seal the 6-4 win.

Ella Ussery earned the win across a complete game of five innings, allowing two earned runs out of her four total runs and six hits. She also struck out four batters without surrendering a walk.

Much like the first game of the day, Spain Park started out its game against Pleasant Grove with a first-inning lead after Teagan Huey hit an RBI single to open up a 1-0 lead.

Jaley Young opened up the second inning with a lead-off double, and two batters later, a pair of wild pitches brought the courtesy runner Grayson Heaton home.

A Maggie Daniel walk and Tatum Lasseter single loaded up the bases, and the lead then increased to 3-0 after a wild pitch during Bennett’s at-bat.

Bennett then drove the other runners home with a three-run home run to make the lead 6-0.

While the next batter struck out, a wild pitch and an error kept the inning alive and took the lead to 8-0 before the end of the inning.

The Jags weren’t done scoring and added another pair of runs in the top of the third off a Lasseter RBI double and a passed ball. Lasseter finished the game 2-for-3 with two runs and an RBI.

Pleasant Grove got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the frame with a run off a fielder’s choice, but Spain Park limited the Spartans to just the one run and earned the 10-1 win.

Young took the win with three strikeouts in two shutout innings, allowing two hits and no walks in the process.

The Jags carried that momentum into the second day of the tournament as they battled Brooks to start their Saturday.

After a scoreless first inning, Thompson kicked off the second with a lead-off single and stole a base to set up Ussery at the plate with one out. Ussery drove her home with an RBI double to open up a 1-0 lead.

Two batters later, the Lions intentionally walked Daniel and set up an RBI single from Lasseter to make the lead 2-0.

Spain Park put together another two-run inning in the top of the third. The Jags used a lead-off walk to lead to a Huey RBI double, and an error following a bunt two batters later put Spain Park up 4-0.

From there, Ussery continued to dominate in the circle for the shutout win, her second victory in two days. She pitched a complete-game six innings and struck out three batters while allowing two hits and no walks in the four-run win.

The Jags then looked to make it four wins in a row at the Hoover Met as they faced Austin.

A Black Bears hit batsman put a runner on to start the game, and after a stolen base and a sacrifice bunt advanced the runner to third. An RBI single followed that up and put Austin up 1-0.

While Spain Park couldn’t answer in the bottom of the first, it rallied back in the second with a five-run inning.

Young kicked off the inning with a lead-off single and stolen base, and while the next batter got out, Roberts got an RBI single to tie up the game.

Soon after, the bases loaded up off a Daniel intentional walk and a Bennett walk, and a wild pitch gave Spain Park the lead.

Whitaker then plated a pair of runs with an RBI double and Thompson followed that up with an RBI single to take the lead to 5-1 going into the third inning.

While the Jags got into a two-out hole to start the inning, Daniel kicked off another strong offensive stretch with a first-pitch solo home run.

Lasseter and Bennett then put a pair of runners on with back-to-back singles for Huey, and she scored both runners with an RBI double to make the lead 8-1.

The Black Bears answered with an RBI triple and an RBI ground out in the top of the fourth, but Spain Park limited the offense to just those three runs and earned the 8-3 win in six innings.

Young took the win with three innings of one run softball with the lone hit she gave up coming off the first-inning RBI single.

Huey and Daniel each finished the game 2-for-3 as Huey earned three RBI and a run and Daniel had two runs, an RBI and a walk.

The Jags finished off the tournament with a tight 6-5 loss to Hazel Green after the Trojans rallied back two separate times from going down, including two runs in the bottom of the fourth to erase Spain Park’s 5-4 lead.

With the regular season now in the rearview mirror, the 23-14 Jags will face Chelsea in the first round of the area tournament on Saturday, April 27 at Hewitt-Trussville High School.