TROY — The situation looked dire for the Sumiton Christian Eagles, suffering from a 9-1 deficit to Maplesville in the bottom of the second inning and facing a potential long battle in the …
TROY — The situation looked dire for the Sumiton Christian Eagles, suffering from a 9-1 deficit to Maplesville in the bottom of the second inning and facing a potential long battle in the elimination bracket for a return trip to the state tournament.
The Eagles, however, turned the rout into a rally, scoring 12 unanswered runs, coupled with strong defensive play and a great performance in the circle by Mak Miller, helped Sumiton Christian secure a 13-9 victory and a spot in the South Central Region championship game.
“We knew going into the game that Maplesville was going to be a tough challenge. Even though we spotted them nine runs, I always knew our team had it in them to come back. They never quit and fought to the end — it was impressive to watch,” Sumiton Christian head coach Jessica Aderholt said. “Mak has shown tremendous focus as the season progressed — she came in and shut Maplesville down, and together with our defense, helped us lock down their offense. Once we started scoring the runs, the momentum just kept going.”
Miller, who pitched the final five and one-third shutout innings, gave up two hits and two walks, while striking out two batters in the win. Anna Calloway pitched one and two- thirds innings, recording two strikeouts, relieving starter Alexus Lambert.
“I was nervous when I first stepped into the circle, but I knew we needed to shut down their offense and that’s exactly what I love to do,” Miller said. “As the game went along, I felt that this was our time to fight for our right to go back to state. In my mind, our focus was as if we were already in Montgomery playing for another state title.”
Offensively, Zana Aderholt went 3 for 4 with a run scored, two doubles and three RBIs, Taylor Whisonant was 3 for 4 with two runs scored, a double and an RBI, Kaley McCrary went 2 for 4 with two runs scored, a home run, a double and three RBIs. Calloway was 2 for 4 with two runs scored, a double and an RBI, Amber Hayes had a solo home run with three runs scored, Angel Whitlow had a double with two runs scored, AK Tyree scored a run with an RBI and Lexi Jackson and Miller recorded an RBI each.
Behind 9-1 going into the bottom of the second inning, the Eagles’ comeback began. Jackson and Miller drove in runs on sacrifice hits to cut the lead to 9-3.
In the bottom of the third inning, McCrary hit a two-run home run to draw Sumiton Christian within four, 9-5.
Sumiton Christian took control in the bottom of the fifth inning with five runs crossing the plate. Whisonant and Calloway drove in runs on a double, Aderholt recorded a two-run double and then scored on an error for the 10-9 edge.
The Eagles collected three insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth inning, following a solo home run by Hayes and RBI doubles by Aderholt and McCrary en route to the 13-9 victory.
Sumiton Christian faces Isabella today at 10:30 a.m. at the Troy Sportsplex with the South Central Region Title on the line.