Thompson beats Central-Phenix City but drops two tough tests to exit state tournament

Published 9:16 pm Monday, May 13, 2024

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By ANDREW SIMONSON | Sports Editor

OXFORD – It was an emotional evening for the Thompson Warriors on Monday, May 13 at Oxford’s Choccolocco Park as their run at the state championship ended after a day full of tough tests.

After starting the Class 7A State Tournament with a 7-2 win over the Central-Phenix City Red Devils, the Warriors dropped a 4-2 game to the Hewitt-Trussville Huskies and a 1-0 no-hitter to the Daphne Trojans to end their season.

“Like I told the girls, I’m proud of them,” Thompson coach Kevin Todd said. “It’s tough, but at the end of the day, everybody’s going home as the loser except for one team, we feel like we’re still one of the better teams in the state and I thought we played real well today. We ran the Hewitt team who’s really good and we ran into probably the best arm in the state and just couldn’t get it done. So, all the credit goes to those teams. We didn’t play bad. They just played better than us today.

The Warriors started the day with a tough matchup against Central-Phenix City, but they scored seven unanswered runs to pull away for the win.

The Red Devils caught a break in the bottom of the first with a walk and an error to start the frame. Two batters later, they capitalized with an RBI single to plate both runners and take a 2-0 lead.

However, that swing scored the lone runs of the game for Central as Thompson rallied to take the lead.

After a lead-off single from Keara Hall, Aubree Hooks doubled on the next pitch to make it a one-run game.

Morgan Adolphus singled to keep the rally going, and after Hannah Hobbs bunted, Josie Hamm barely beat out the tag at home to tie the game.

Then, Kadyn Bush hit a tricky ball to first and forced the Red Devils to get her out at first, leaving the door open for Morgan Adolphus to score and give the Warriors the 3-2 lead.

Thompson struck again in the top of the fourth as back-to-back doubles from Hobbs and Neely Davis and a bunt from Kelsey Burden set up Olivia Tindell for an RBI single, making the lead 4-2.

Laney Williams made it a three-run lead on the second pitch of the fifth with a solo home run.

The Warriors had one more rally in them in the top of the sixth as back-to-back singles from Neely Davis and Kelsey Burden and a hit by pitch gave way to two runs.

First, Motes scored a run off a sacrifice fly, and then Williams got her second RBI of the game with an RBI single to score Burden.

That took the lead to 7-2, and Hooks saw out the win in the circle from there as she finished the game with six strikeouts, no earned runs, two total runs, three hits and two walks.

Williams and Davis each had multi-hit games as Williams went 2-for-4 with an RBI single and solo home run and Davis had a 2-for-2 game with a run.

Thompson then moved on to face Hewitt-Trussville for the third time this season with the rubber match awarding the victor with a spot in the winner’s bracket final.

The Huskies started the game with the bases loaded and one out, and they scored off a wild pitch to open up a 1-0 lead.

While they couldn’t add another run after that, Hewitt made its lead 2-0 in the top of the second after starting the inning with back-to-back doubles, the second of which plated a run.

The Huskies then got a pair of singles in the top of the third. While the Warriors caught a runner stealing, Hewitt recovered to score a run shortly after and take the lead to 3-0.

Thompson rallied in response in the bottom of the third thanks to three straight singles. Kelsey Burden and Tindell got on base to start the inning before Motes drove both runners home to make the score 3-2.

However, the Warriors couldn’t close the gap any more than that.

After the fourth and fifth innings came and went without a run from either team, a one-out single from Hewitt in the top of the sixth gave way to a two-out RBI triple to take a 4-2 lead.

With that insurance run, the Huskies sealed the 4-2 win to put Thompson on the brink of elimination.

Adolphus finished a perfect 3-for-3 and Burden went 3-for-4 with a run at the plate.

Todd said he thought the game hinged on a couple of defensive plays in the outfield, and he gave Hewitt-Trussville the credit for capitalizing when it had the chance.

“We had a couple plays in the outfield we didn’t make,” Todd said. “Hewitt made a couple. And as far as everything else, I thought was pretty even. They just made the plays when they had a chance. And I didn’t think we made a couple.

With the Warriors’ season on the line, they engaged in a narrow defensive duel with the Daphne Trojans to finish out the day.

While Daphne secured a one-out single in the top of the first, that was the lone hit between both teams for the first three innings as Thompson’s Aubree Hooks and the Trojans’ Victoria Moten settled into the game.

Hooks secured three strikeouts in the first two innings before orchestrating a one-two-three top of the third.

However, the deadlock broke shortly after the first three innings finished.

On the third pitch of the top of the fourth, Daphne launched a solo home run to break the hitless drought and take a 1-0 lead.

While Hooks recovered and retook control for the Warriors, Moten continued to frustrate the Thompson hitters as she built up a no-hit bid.

She struck out the side in the fifth inning, and with the game on the line in the bottom of the seventh, she secured her 10th and 11th strikeouts of the game to finish out the no-hitter and end the Warriors’ season.

On the opposite end, Hooks finished the game with seven strikeouts in seven innings against just one run, four hits and a walk with the solo home run providing the difference on the scoreboard.

Todd said Moten presented multiple difficult challenges to his lineup and gave her the flowers after putting up a big performance in an elimination game.

“Her velocity just for one,” Todd said. “She throws really hard about as hard as we’ve seen and she moves the ball in, out, her change-up was pretty decent. That’s just not fair. But no, she’s good. And like I said, we give them all the credit and we just couldn’t get it done against her.” 

Todd was proud of the relationships his players built with each other over the course of the season and said that those were the most important part, even with Thompson’s sky-high expectations on the field.

“We’re at the point in our program where we expect to play for state championships and that’s fine,” Todd said. “But at the end of the day, it’s all about the girls and it’s all about giving God the glory and that’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to keep doing that and hopefully He’ll bless us with another ring before I’m too old.”