Caleb Suggs Sports Editor
Survive and advance.
The Lady Hornets did just that Wednesday evening.
Facing an elimination situation in game three of the AHSAA state tournament Wednesday, the Hornets weathered the storm , scoring two runs in the final inning to secure the win over Leroy 2-0.
“The gameplan I had kind of got thrown out the window,” said Hatton head coach Denton Bowling. “We were playing from behind but we got the momentum we needed and pulled it out.”
After winning game one 10-0, Hatton went scoreless for 13 innings, going through game two and to the final inning of game three.
It was Hatton’s eighth grade star Bradyn Mitchell that finally broke the lull. Mitchell knocked an RBI single up the middle to spark the team. “That was big for me,” Mitchell said. “I knew we needed that hit. I just wanted to put our team in the best position to win.”
While it was Mitchell that sparked the offense, it was pitcher Ashley Berryman that made the game’s biggest plays.
With a 3-0 count and the bases loaded, Leroy looked poised to break the scoreless tie in the sixth, that is until Berryman shut them down and ended the inning. It was the game’s turning point.
“That’s why we have that kid in the circle. She’s special,” said Bowling. “She’s special because it ain’t about how overpowering I can be or the strikeout, it’s can I hit my spot and can I get to the next pitch. Best part about it is as a whole we played great behind her defensively.”
The win kept the Hornet’s state championship hopes alive, allowing them to advance to the second day of the tournament.
“It’s one game at a time from here on out,” Bowling said. “I don’t know who we have next game, but it doesn’t matter because each game is the most important of the season from here on out.”
Hatton 0, G.W. Long 2:
It was a clash of the No. 1 and 2 teams and the past two state champions in game two of the tournament and G.W. Long came out on top.
Troy commit Libby Baker gave the Hornets fits, striking out eight of their first nine batters and allowing just one hit with no walks.
“It was uncharacteristic of us because she’s an uncharacteristically good pitcher,” said Bowling. “She’s a D1 for our reason. I was proud of our kids and our effort. We tried to put something together at the end, it didn’t get done and we gotta battle back now.”
Hatton did hold G.W., who holds the national record for homeruns in a season, to just three hits and two runs (one of which came off an error).
Hatton 10, Thorsby 0:
Emma Latham, Cloey Lovelady and Ashley Berryman all went yard in the opening blowout win. Lovelady hit a grand slam that blew the game open.