Something to Prove: Hatton is state bound after dominating performance at regionals

Hatton celebrates winning the North Regional and advancing to state Monday afternoon. 

Leave no doubt. 

That's exactly what the Hatton Hornets did at the regional tournament. 

A year ago the regional tournament held nothing but heartbreak for the Hornets. Hatton entered the tournament with a No. 1 ranking (which they held all season long) and a school record of 49-14, but they left stunned after an 8-7 upset loss to Lamar County that ended their chances of repeating as state champions. 

This year there was no heartbreak. 

There wasn't even any close calls. 

No, all there was this year, was domination. 

Hatton breezed through the tournament, winning three straight games by a combined margin of 27-5. Not even bad weather, which caused the Hornet's second game with Collinsville to be postponed from Friday to Saturday and then from Saturday to Monday, could slow them down. 

The Hornets were on a mission, and nothing was going to get in their way. 

"It was a tough 27-5, but I'm proud of these girls," said Hatton head coach Denton Bowling. "Our goal was to get to Montgomery and we've acccomplished that goal. And now that we're here, we of all people know that you have to have a little luck on your side to win it all." 

Hatton opened the tournament with a 7-1 win over Tharptown, but it was their second game with Collinsville that brought a lot of trouble. 

The game started on Friday in the rain and was called in the third inning with Hatton holding a 3-1 lead. 

It was resumed on Saturday, only to be called again in the fifth inning with the Hornet's holding a 6-2 lead. 

When the game finally ended on Monday, Hatton was victorious 9-3. 

"I'm really proud of the way they came out here and took care of business the way we needed to," said Bowling. "They battled through a lot of adversity in this thing. Hats off to them for coming out and playing on a field we should not have been playing on and then coming back Saturday and then Monday to get the win. That speaks a lot about who they are and the resiliency that they have."  

Like she has all season, Ashley Berryman was a key part of the Hornet's success. The 2017 state tournament MVP allowed just three runs in three games while picking up wins in all three games. 

"I say it all the time and I'll say it again, she's a bulldog," said Bowling. "It takes a special kid to step in that circle and have the mental capacity to understand the game and make adjustments from pitch to pitch and inning to inning. Ashley's as good a player as any I've ever coached in baseball or softball and she's been lights out all season. 

Despite their dominating showing in Florence, and the fact that they are the No. 2 team with five state titles since 2010, Hatton is entering the state tournament with a redemption mindset and viewing themselves as the underdog. 

"Being the underdog we know we have to get out there and compete," said Ashley Berryman. "We know we can't go out there and just think we'll win and make it. We have to compete." 

The Hornets are itching to get a shot at the defending state champs and No. 1 team G.W. Long, a game they missed out on after their early exit last year. 

"We have something to prove and we're ready," said Berryman said. "We want redemption. 

Hatton 7, Tharptown 1: 

Emma Latham hit a triple and Mallory Lane had a two run homerun in the win. 

Hatton 9, Collinsville 3: 

Ashton Pitt and Laney Jeffereys had RBI hits early. 

Hatton 11, Ider 1: 

Bradyn Mitchell and Kailyn Quails had home runs in the blow out win. 

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