After a semifinal loss to close its day Thursday, Elmore County’s softball team required three consecutive victories in an eight-hour span to win its area championship Friday.
The Panthers did exactly that.
By beating Jemison to secure a playoff berth and then taking back-to-back slugfests against Marbury, the team that beat Elmore County in the semifinals, the squad captured an area crown.
“I’m just really proud of everybody,” Elmore County head coach Mark Segrest said. “The pitchers did their job, we had some timely hits throughout the day. I’m just elated that we were able to fight back through the loser’s bracket and get one of the No. 1 seeds next week in the Tuscaloosa regional.”
The top four of Elmore County’s batting order took turns delivering in key spots Friday.
The Panthers cruised to a 10-0 victory in six innings against Jemison in its semifinal game, in large part due to a 3-for-4 outing with six RBIs from Madison Britt, who bats fourth for Elmore County.
Britt blasted a three-run home run in the second inning and walked off the contest in the sixth on an RBI single.
In a 6-5 battle in its first game against Marbury, Anna Catherine Segrest, who bats second for the Panthers, picked up the team’s only two extra-base hits and batted in three runs.
She delivered a two-out RBI double with the contest deadlocked at 5-5 in the sixth inning which proved the eventual game winner.
Elmore County closed out its championship effort with an 8-3 beating of the Bulldogs, a game in which leadoff hitter Kelley Green went 4-for-4 with two runs scored and Segrest smoked a two-run second-inning home run to put the Panthers ahead 4-2.
“Kelley Green and Anna Catherine both had really good tournaments,” Mark Segrest said. “Especially the last two games. The top of the order really came through, and we had other girls throughout the lineup who did a good job. One of the great things about this team is that different people pick up the slack when they need to, and it was the top of the order’s time these last two days.”
In the circle, Aubrey Allen tossed a six-inning shutout against Jemison and closed down the first Marbury victory with two innings of relief before another complete game in the title clincher, but Segrest said Maci Curlee’s start in game one against the Bulldogs was also key to the team’s success.
Curlee tossed four shutout innings before Marbury found its offensive rhythm in the fifth, where it scored all five of its runs in the contest.
Hailey O’Brien secured the final out in the fifth frame in relief, keeping the game tied at five.
“All three pitchers did a great job,” Segrest said. “Maci Curlee threw a really good game in the first game against Marbury and Aubrey closed it out, and then Aubrey finished out the last game. Really our entire pitching staff did a great job of keeping us in every game this tournament.”
Elmore County will resume action with regional tournament play next week.