TUSCALOOSA — Cordova won with its offense on Friday. Saturday was all about pitching.Cordova pitcher Raven Clark dominated Cherokee County as the Blue Devils earned the No. 1 qualifier spot …
TUSCALOOSA — Cordova won with its offense on Friday. Saturday was all about pitching.
Cordova pitcher Raven Clark dominated Cherokee County as the Blue Devils earned the No. 1 qualifier spot at the North Central Regional Tournament, edging the Warriors 1-0 at Bowers Park in Tuscaloosa.
The win gives Cordova a berth in the State Softball Tournament for the second consecutive season. The Blue Devils open play in Montgomery at 10:45 a.m. on Thursday against North Jackson, the No. 2 qualifier from the North Regional.
Saturday’s game wasn’t without its share of suspense.
In the final inning, Cherokee County put runners at the corners after a pair of infield singles with two outs.
Clark coaxed the final batter into a ground out to end the threat and punch Cordova’s ticket to Montgomery.
Cordova (28-20) pushed across the only run of the game in the second inning. Abby Sargent led off the inning with a double. With two outs, Clark helped her own cause with an RBI single that drove in Sargent from third base.
In the circle, Clark allowed just four hits and a walk while striking out 12.
The Blue Devils outscored the competition 21-1 on Friday with wins over White Plains (11-1) and Oneonta (10-0).
In the tournament, Clark was 3-0, allowing one run on 10 hits and four walks along with 23 strikeouts in 18 innings.
“She’s the reason we’re here,” Vintson said of her pitcher. “She’s hitting her spots, bringing the heat and being smart with her pitches.”
Sargent finished the game 1 for 3 with a double and a run scored, Clark was 1 for 2 with an RBI, Jaqulyn Braswell was 1 for 2 and Mary Grayson Kilpatrick, Emma Hyche and Anna Key each finished 1 for 3.
Kilpatrick, a UNA signee and one of three seniors on the team, said the Blue Devils want more than just a regional title.
“I’m very happy, but we have a lot more to go,” said Kilpatrick, who is playing despite a fractured vertebrae in her back.
“We are closer this season. We trust each other more. Raven is throwing hard, she has so much more confidence, and we are all hitting better.”
Last year, Cordova went 2-2 at the State Softball Tournament.
Vinston is hoping for better results starting Thursday.
“We are more prepared and we have more experience compared to last year,” Vintson said.
Cordova players will wear purple ribbons for the remainder of the season for lupus awareness. Vintson suffers from the disease, which affects the immune system.
Her players surprised her with the ribbons on Friday.
“I pulled up (to the school) and they are standing in a huddle, staring at me. I’m thinking, what’s going on here? They all turned around and showed me they are wearing purple ribbons. They said, ‘We love you. We support you and we’re fighting for you.’
“They wanted to play the rest of the year for me,” said Vintson, adding that the gesture brought her to tears. “I squalled.”
Carbon Hill falls short
Carbon Hill needed three wins on Saturday to earn a spot in the State Softball Tournament in Montgomery.
The Bulldogs fell one win short of their goal, falling to Pleasant Valley 11-1 in five innings in their final game.
Carbon Hill started the day with a win over Oakman and followed with a win over Walter Wellborn before running out of gas.
Carbon Hill 11, Oakman 2
The Bulldogs clinched an 11-2 victory over county rival Oakman to advance in the elimination bracket.
Karlie Ratliff pitched seven innings in the win, giving up three hits, two runs, three walks and struck out four batters.
Offensively for Carbon Hill, Adison Alexander went a perfect 3 for 3 with two RBIs and two doubles, Allie Parr was 3 for 4 with a run scored and three RBIs, Santana Clark went 3 for 5 with a run scored and an RBI, Alleigh Keeton was 2 for 3 with a run scored, Abby Martin went 1 for 3 with a run scored, Ratliff had a triple with two runs scored and an RBI, Makindle McGough recorded a hit with a run scored, Alayna Ivie had a hit with a run scored and two RBIs and Allison Mitchell scored three runs.
For Oakman, Jessy Aston pitched four and one-third innings, recording two strikeouts. Katelyn Makemson pitched one and two-thirds innings with one strikeout.
At the plate, Chante Williams had a double with two RBIs, Kylie Bolton recorded a hit with a run scored, Shalayiah Waid had a double and Savannah Brown scored a run.
Carbon Hill 9, Walter Wellborn 4
Carbon Hill picked up its second elimination bracket win on the day over Walter Wellborn, 9-4. Sarah Stovall pitched seven innings, giving up four runs and striking out five batters.
At the plate, Ivie was 2 for 3 with a double and an RBI, Ratliff went 2 for 4 with two runs scored, a triple and three RBIs, Clark and Abby Martin were both 1 for 3 with two runs scored, Keeton went 1 for 3 with a run scored, Gracie Wyma was 1 for 2 with an RBI, McGough had a double with an RBI, Parr had a hit with a run scored and Mitchell scored a run.
Pleasant Valley 11, Carbon Hill 1 (5 innings)
Carbon Hill’s season came to a conclusion following an 11-1, five-inning loss to Pleasant Valley in the elimination final.
Ratliff pitched the first two innings, giving up two hits. Clark pitched the final three innings, recording a strikeout.
Offensively, McGough went 1 for 2 with a run scored, Keeton was 1 for 2 with an RBI and Abby Martin, Ratliff, Alexander each had a hit.