Strange things have been brought to sporting events by teams.
But a human-sized Barbie doll head might be the first of its kind.
Used as a good luck charm the previous three trips to Lagoon Park, Hatton softball, with doll head in tow, captured the AHSAA Class 2A state championship for the fourth consecutive season behind Friday’s 5-2 victory over Mobile Christian.
The Hornets’ good luck charm first appeared in 2010.
“Carey Grace (Peebles), our catcher wanted to be a cosmologist every since she was little,” Hornets pitcher Hillary Carpenter said. “She got it to play with its hair, and her sister just started beginning it when we were in ninth grade. Every since then, it’s been lucky, I guess.”
Hatton (46-10) had to battle its way through the losers bracket of the tournament after dropping a 9-8 loss to Mobile Christian in its first game of the day. The Hornets bounced back to defeat Lexington in five innings before taking down the Leopards (40-17) twice to earn the state crown, again.
“(Mobile Christian) came out pumped and ready to play this morning,” Hatton coach John Smith said. “It was a nip-and-tuck ballgame. Anybody that made the plays and got the hits won the ballgame. They just happened to make the plays and the hits, and we didn’t.”
In the championship game, Mariah Cantrell and Danya Sneed each drove in a pair of runs for the top-ranked Hornets to back Carpenter, who was named the tournament’s MVP. It was the fourth straight time the right-handed hurler earned top player honors.
“It’s kind of like a dream because most people don’t make it down here,” said Carpenter, a left-hander who signed with North Alabama. “We’re just lucky to be down here; we could be one of those teams who never make it out of the area.”
Smith couldn’t quite pick a favorite of his four state titles.
“They’ve all be great,” he said. “They’re all very special.”
It was the countless mistakes that ultimately doomed Mobile Christian.
“Against a team like Hatton, you can’t make mistakes,” Leopards coach Brian Callaway said. “We made just too many defensive errors. In the first game, we made errors, but we hit past it. We didn’t hit past it in the last two games.”