It was a rivalry renewed Monday night that didn’t quite feel like a rivalry by the end of the game.
Hatton topped Mars Hill 6-1 Monday night, but the score seemed far worse than that. By the end of the game, the Lady Panthers were visibly frustrated and looked demoralized as Hatton pounded them for seven innings.
The win was a revenge win for the Hornets after falling to Mars Hill in regionals last year.
“I’m happy for the girls and most importantly I’m happy for the seniors,” said head coach Denton Bowling. “It was a bit of a redemption win.”
Hatton and Mars Hill spent the past two seasons in the same area in class 2, building quite the fierce rivalry along the way.
Last year in a total of six meetings, the two squads split evenly 3-3.
“The past two seasons it’s been a toss up anytime we play,” Bowling said. “Ashley (Berryman) pitched a gem today. I say it all the time, she’s a Bulldog in the circle and having her healthy makes a big diffrence.”
Berryman pitched a complete game, and apart from one run in the very first inning, completely shut down the Panthers.
The former state tournament MVP is finally healthy after not being during all six meetings with the Panthers last year.
“This game had no meaning really but to us it was a rivalry game,” Berryman said. “We’ve played them so much that we know what each other’s got. So if you can knock them down that’s always a big plus.”
Hatton also gave Mars Hill fits at the plate.
The Hornets teed off on Panther’s pitcher Riley Vaughn.
An RBI double from Mallory Lane in the first inning gave Hatton a 2-1 lead.
A solo launch over the left field fence by Bradyn Mitchell and a triple by Berryman helped the Hornets build their lead to 6-1 by the fifth.
“Vaughn is one of the best pitchers in North Alabama, but offensively we hit the ball very well. I don’t think we got lucky by any means,” stated Bowling.
The win will go a long way in helping the Hornet’s in their postseason goals.
“It was fun to watch. Sometimes they’re too serious but today was the first time I really saw some excitement after the game,” Bowling said. “But they know what the ultimate goal is and that’s to get to Montgomery. Today things paid off and I hope it continues to pay off.”