Photos by Kyle Thornton
Softball team state bound
By Michael Butler
For the first time in the fast-pitch softball era, the Tallassee High School Tigers are headed to the state tournament. The Tigers won all three games in the AHSAA Class 5A West Regional at Bowers Park in Tuscaloosa to clinch the region's top seed and a berth in the state tournament in Oxford.
Tallassee beat Marbury 8-1 and Demopolis 5-4 on Tuesday. They topped familiar foe Brewbaker Tech 5-4 on Wednesday to punch their ticket. The Tigers (34-11-4) ran their win streak to eight. And like in the area tournament, there were some late inning dramatics.
"It's exciting," head coach Pat Love said. "I told the girls to celebrate and enjoy it. Today, we go back to work."
The Tigers won two of three games in the area tournament in comeback style. The cardiac kids did it again at the regional after trailing late vs. Demopolis and Brew Tech - who they are now 6-0 against in 2021.
The Tigers trailed 4-0 in the bottom of the sixth inning against the Rams.
"I told the girls to settle down and get the zero off the board," Love said. "We scratched a couple in the sixth. We held them in the top of the seventh. In the bottom, we came through with the big hit."
The Tigers were down to their final out when the 'big hit' came from Chloe Baynes, scoring two in walk-off style. It was Tallassee's first lead of the day.
Against Demopolis Tallassee trailed 5-3 going to the bottom of the sixth, with echoes of megaphone chatter ringing into the Tigers' dugout. Love said it motivated his team.
"It was loud. Sometimes when you hear things you question if you really heard what you just heard. It's the first time I've ever been at a game like that. I think it helped our girls. They kept their composure."
Chloe Davidson's double scored three to give Tallassee a lead they would not relinquish. She had four RBIs in the win. Alexis Walls picked up wins in victories vs. Demopolis and Brew Tech. Davidson got the win in the circle against Marbury.
Elmore County rebounded after losing to Brewbaker Tech 6-2 in the opener of the regional by winning four straight vs. Sipsey Valley (18-4), Demopolis (2-0), John Carroll Catholic (3-1) and Brew Tech (6-5) to advance as the West Regional No. 2 qualifier.
Tallassee's team was greeted by a horde of fans when the school bus arrived in the Southside parking lot.
"It was awesome to see the support," said Love. "The girls were excited. You should've seen their faces when they pulled up."
Tallassee will open play in the state tournament on Tuesday, May 17 at 9 a.m. vs. Ardmore. It is a double-elimination eight-team bracket.
"We did not play our best ball this past weekend. We did what we had to do to win," Love added. "We've got to be ready and get better. We've got a shot."
1300 WTLS/106.5 FM will broadcast live beginning on Tuesday morning with "Wake-Up Call" at 6 a.m. All tournament games will be available on the radio and through the TuneIn app. Live video is not permitted.