Defending state champion Haleyville opened the tournament hot, allowing just two runs in Thursday’s doubleheader, while Central-Florence shut out its second-round opponent after barely escaping a trip to the loser’s bracket in Game 1.
After a last-second comeback victory against Alabama Christian, Central-Florence was ready to make a statement in its winner’s bracket matchup against Corner.
The Cats got on top early with a one-run double from Abby Keener in the first and the team’s advantage only grew from there.
Central-Florence stunned Corner as it continued to light up the scoreboard while overpowering the Yellow Jackets defensively, holding the team to just two hits in its 14-0 victory.
Catcher Andi Kimbrough went 4-for-5 with six RBIs to lead her team to a spot in today’s winner’s bracket matchup against Haleyville. First baseman Kate Lambert had one run off a pair of hits and three RBIs.
Corner couldn’t find a way to get on the board against the Cats’ tough defense, despite overpowering Sardis 10-1 earlier in the day.
Keener’s offensive production started in Central-Florence’s first game when she transformed from outfielder to Miss Clutch.
Her two-out RBI single in the top of the seventh sealed the Cats’ comeback and left the ACA crowd speechless.
“At regionals, we started out in the loser’s bracket, and we had to work our way back up,” Keener said. “Knowing that we won that game, it gets us more motivated because we know we have less games to make it to the finals.”
The Lions’ road to the third round of the winner’s bracket was just as impressive.
Haleyville never trailed in either game and closed out the first day of play outhitting its opponent 20-to-9.
The team opened with a commanding 8-2 victory over Charles Henderson. Haleyville grabbed an early 1-0 lead and added insurance with a pair of two-run innings and a three-run sixth to rally and beat the Trojans. Third baseman Callie Pendley finished 2-for-4 with a pair of runs while her sister, first baseman Tori Pendley, went 2-for-3 with two runs and two RBIs.
Led by the arm of 2012 tournament MVP pitcher Holly Ward, Haleyville defeated Cherokee County 4-0 in its second game of the day. Despite out-hitting Cherokee County 10-to-1, it took the Lions six innings to put a run on the board. Catcher Sydney Kiser finished with a double and two RBIs, and shortstop Lacey Burleson added one run and an RBI.
Central-Florence and Haleyville will meet at 9 a.m. today with the loser dropping to the loser’s bracket for an elimination game at 1:30 p.m. and the winner playing for a spot in the final at 4 p.m.