Winfield weathered the storm without its ace pitcher.
Since senior Madi Moore has returned from injury, the Pirates (21-18-1) are looking like a team fully capable of repeating as AHSAA Class 3A softball champions.
“She gives us a shot,” said Winfield coach Zach Nix about Moore, who missed most of the regular season with a torn meniscus. “If I had to pick one pitcher in the whole state of Alabama, she’s the one I’d choose.”
Behind the pitching of Moore, Winfield (21-18-1) advanced to today’s 9 a.m. winner’s bracket final against Hale County by beating Prattville Christian, 11-0, in five innings and outlasting Pisgah, 7-5, Thursday at Lagoon Park.
“The biggest thing was playing five innings and getting out of the heat,” Nix said. “In Alabama this time of year, it’s nice. The longer you stay in it, the worse you’re going to be. I felt like we had a little bit of an advantage (against Pisgah). We played five, they played seven. They spent about an hour extra in the heat than we did.”
Moore (11-1) pitched all 12 innings and struck out a total of 16 batters. She allowed just one hit against Prattville and surrendered seven against Pisgah.
“I think it’s helped us out tremendously to get her back,” Nix said. “She came back a week before the area tournament. She’s been lights out ever since.”
The fifth-ranked Panthers bounced back from its shutout loss against Winfield to beat Slocomb, 7-5, in the loser’s bracket. Nicole Hoots’ RBI triple in the fifth inning put Prattville Christian ahead for good.
“I knew we could do it because my team is fighters,” Hoots said.
In its loss to Winfield, the Panthers fell behind 4-0 in the first inning as they felt victim to nervousness as much as their opponent.
“We were a little too big-eyed on the big stage,” Panthers coach Randy Stough said. “What could go wrong did go wrong.”
Prattville Christian had a 4-2 lead in the second inning against Colbert Heights in the loser’s bracket before rain stopped the game. The game will resume at 8 a.m. today with the winner facing Pisgah at 10:30 a.m.