Thompson advances to regionals after reaching area title game

Published 9:35 am Monday, April 29, 2024

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By ANDREW SIMONSON | Sports Editor

HOOVER – Entering the second day of the Class 7A, Area 5 Tournament at Hoover High School, the Thompson Warriors had their backs against the wall facing elimination after falling 3-2 to the Hoover Buccaneers to end the day on Friday, April 26.

Not only did they beat the Vestavia Hills Rebels for the second time in the tournament 6-0 on Saturday, April 27 to advance to regionals, they pushed the Bucs to a decisive game seven for the area title with a 3-1 win.

While Thompson fell 3-2 in the final game against Hoover, its second-place finish ensured its place in the East Regional beginning on May 6 in Albertville.

The Warriors started the tournament on Friday with a 3-1 win over Vestavia Hills, scoring three in the fifth off a Keara Hall RBI single and back-to-back bases-loaded walks to claim the win.

In the second game of the day, Hoover pulled away for a 3-0 lead to start the game. Thompson tried to rally with a Dailynn Motes RBI double and a run off a Kadyn Bush sacrifice fly in the top of the seventh, but it was too little, too late as the Bucs earned the 3-2 win.

Needing a big win the next afternoon against the Rebels to keep their season alive, the Warriors got just that in a shutout victory.

After a scoreless opening two innings, Aubree Hooks got two strikeouts in the circle to give Thompson momentum going into the bottom of the third.

Kelsey Burden kicked off the Warriors’ half of the third with a single, and while the next batter struck out, Thompson rallied for a string of scoring plays right after.

Motes hit an RBI double on the first pitch of her at-bat, and two pitches later, Laney Williams made the lead 2-0 off an RBI double of her own.

Bush and Hooks then hit back-to-back RBI singles to give the Warriors a 4-0 lead off four straight scoring plays.

While that was the end of the scoring in the third inning, a Nora Davis lead-off triple in the bottom of the fourth set up Burden to drive her home off a sacrifice fly to take the lead to 5-0.

In the sixth inning, Alexandra Bauer singled with one out, and she made her way around the bases thanks to a sacrifice bunt, stolen base and an error by the Vestavia Hills catcher.

That finished off the 6-0 lead and sealed Thompson’s place in regionals.

Hooks secured the win with a complete game shutout as she took six strikeouts against four hits and no walks.

Bush went 2-for-3 with an RBI and Davis had a perfect 2-for-2 performance with two runs.

With the win, the Warriors secured a rematch against Hoover with Thompson needing two wins to secure the area title and the Bucs just one.

The first five innings were a pitcher’s duel as Autumn Ingle kept Hoover off the scoreboard and gave the Warriors a window to capitalize.

After Burden hit a lead-off single to start the top of the sixth, she stole second bade Olivia Tindell hit a sacrifice bunt to move her to third.

While the next batter struck out, a walk by Williams kept the inning alive, and Burden came home soon after off a passed ball to take the 1-0 lead.

Thompson then took the first two outs of the bottom of the sixth to put the Bucs in a hole, but a double kept the inning alive and led to an RBI single to tie up the game at 1-1.

The Warriors used another inning of smart hitting in the seventh to retake the lead. Hall singled to lead off the inning and advanced to second during Morgan Adolphus’ at-bat. Adolphus then hit a sacrifice bunt to send her to third, and on the next pitch, Ingle hit an RBI single to score Hall and claim the 2-1 lead.

With courtesy runner Nora Ellis in for Ingle, Savanna Burnett then singled to put runners on the corners. Burden sacrificed herself with a bunt to score Ellis for an insurance run and the two-run advantage.

From there, Ingle orchestrated a one-two-three bottom of the seventh to seal the 3-1 lead. Ingle secured six strikeouts over her seven innings in the circle and allowed just one run, three hits and two walks.

Hall and Burden both had multi-hit games as Burden went 2-for-3 with a run and an RBI and Hall went 2-for-3 with a run.

The win forced a decisive game seven for the area title.

Thompson took the lead in the top of the third off a Motes RBI ground out, but Hoover rallied for three runs in the bottom half of the frame to take the two-run lead.

Hall hit a solo inside-the-park home run in the top of the fourth to cut the deficit to one, but the Warriors couldn’t score the tying run in the fourth or the remaining three innings as the Bucs claimed the 3-2 win and the area title.

Thompson will travel to the East Regional in Albertville from May 6-9 seeking a spot in the state tournament as the No. 2 seed out of Class 7A, Area 5.