Calera sweeps area tournament to claim 2024 area championship

Published 9:11 am Tuesday, April 30, 2024

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CALERA ­– Outscoring opponents by a combined score of 35-7, the Calera Eagles had no issues blazing a trail to the Class 6A, Area 5 Championship.

In a tournament that started Friday, April 26 with wins of 16-0 over Carver-Montgomery and 11-4 over Chilton County, the Eagles came back on Monday, April 29 and left no doubt with an 8-3 victory over Stanhope Elmore to polish off the area title and continue a special season into regionals.

Competing against the Mustangs in the championship game, the Eagles had the luxury of playing with a game advantage, knowing Stanhope needed two wins in a row to claim the area title.

That comfort showed early for the Eagles, as they struck quickly with a three-run home half of the first inning to take a 3-0 advantage.

Whitney Holtzapfel led off the inning with a single, while Kinley Rodgers followed the first out with an RBI double to make it 1-0. Then, Kate Townley stepped to the plate and blasted a home run over the fence in left field for the early 3-0 lead.

Stanhope responded with a three-run top of the second inning, but that was the only blemish of the game for Townley in the circle.

She came back from giving up three runs on three hits by putting together a complete-game victory with 12 strikeouts, allowing only one more base runner following the second inning.

Her presence in the circle allowed the Eagles to be patient at the plate, but they didn’t have to wait long to take the lead for good.

In the bottom of the fourth, it was Holtzapfel who came up big with a two-out single to center field that drove home both Isabella Overton and Alyssa Quintanilla for a 5-3 lead through four.

That was already enough for the Eagles to pick up the win, but in the bottom of the sixth, they added three more insurance runs.

A single from Overton set up an Armiya Shamburger RBI double, while another single from Holtzapfel set up an RBI groundout from Mia Wade and an RBI double from Rodgers to give Calera an 8-3 lead.

Townley then stepped back in the circle and finished of her dominant outing by striking out the side to give the Eagles the area championship.

Holtzapfel had a strong area tournament and went 3-for-4 in the final game with two RBIs and two runs scored. Rodgers added a 3-for-4 game at the plate, while Townley finished with a home run and two RBIs in addition to her strong presence at the plate. Shamburger added one hit and an RBI.

Calera will now compete in the South Regional at Lagoon Park in Montgomery, which is scheduled to start on Monday, May 6.