Pelham finishes 2024 season at regional tournament

Published 7:23 pm Tuesday, May 7, 2024

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...


MONTGOMERY – The Pelham Panthers did everything they could to keep their season alive at this year’s Class 6A South Regional tournament May 6-7 at Lagoon Park in Montgomery, staving off elimination twice and fighting to the finish before ultimately seeing the season come to an end in a 10-6 loss to Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa.

Like much of the tournament, the Panthers put themselves in position throughout the final elimination game to have a chance, but the Patriots were able to put together clutch defensive plays to pull off the win and end Pelham’s season.

The Panthers opened the tournament with an 11-3 loss to county rival Calera, but how they bounced back with the season on the line is what stood out.

It started in a 6-5 thriller against McAdory that saw them overcome a one-run deficit early in the matchup.

Pelham took an early 1-0 lead in the second but fell behind 2-1 in the top of the third.

That’s when a three-run bottom of the third became key. The Panthers took a 4-2 advantage at that point and never trailed again the rest of the way.

McAdory did even the score with two runs in the top of the fifth, but Pelham came right back with an answer in the home half with two more to grab the lead for good.

The Jackets added one more in the top of the sixth, but Jordan Young settled in from there to get the final out of the inning and then only allow one base runner in the top of the seventh to preserve the win.

Howard finished 3-for-3 at the plate with two RBIs and two runs scored, while she struck out four and allowed five runs on eight hits in the circle. Rebecca Roy also added a 3-for-3 game with an RBI, while Jordan Young and McKenzie Little finished with a hit and an RBI. Laini Stewart added multiple hits in the win with two, scoring once as well.

That led into another elimination game against Brookwood, and Pelham’s effort remained consistent.

After falling behind 1-0 in the bottom of the first, the Panthers responded with three runs in the top of the second.

That already became enough for the win thanks to a strong combined effort in the circle from Little and Young.

Brookwood did respond with one in the bottom of the second, but that became the team’s final run of the game.

From there, the Panthers’ pitching put together five consecutive scoreless innings, while the offense added an insurance run in the top of the seventh to create a 4-2 final.

Howard finished with two hits and an RBI, while Little added a three-RBI double in the winning effort. Taylor Howard added two hits, while Young finished with one. Little struck out three and gave up two runs on eight hits, while Young earned the save in the circle by finishing off the final inning, giving up just one walk and striking out one.

That led to the battle with Hillcrest that saw Pelham earn more opportunities at a win, needing two more victories for a spot at state.

Both teams scored at least one run in the first four innings of the game, but Pelham left the bases loaded with one out twice in that span.

Hillcrest capitalized, taking a 6-4 advantage through four, but it became key after the Panthers left the bases loaded in the bottom of the fourth and the Patriots put together a three-run top of the fifth.

Pelham was able to score one more in the sixth and seventh, but left the bases loaded again in the seventh, as the Panthers never could have the big breakthrough inning in a 10-6 loss.

Young finished with three hits and two RBIs in the loss, while Stewart and Taylor Howard both finished with two hits. Jordan Howard added a hit and an RBI, while Little did the same.