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Tallassee shortstop Belle Haynes scored seven runs and finished with seven RBIs during the Tigers’ run at the South Regional in Gulf Shores.

After losing in the opening round to Faith Academy on Friday, the Tallassee softball team needed four wins in four games to secure a spot in the state tournament. The Tigers gave it a good shot and rode some momentum to three consecutive wins but fell short in the qualifier game, losing to No. 4 Rehoboth 7-0. 

“I just reiterated that we had a great season,” Tallassee coach Pat Love said. “It was the most wins we’ve ever had here at Tallassee by a good bit. We played really well but we just ran out of gas at the end.”

Tallassee finished the season 44-9 after the loss to Rehobeth. The Tigers allowed three runs in the first inning and could not find an answer on offense as Rehobeth joined No. 9 Satsuma as the state qualifiers from the South Regional in Gulf Shores. 

The Tigers only mustered up four hits and struck out 12 times against Rehobeth ace Stephanie Schoonover. Sydney Pybus was a double shy of the cycle and knocked in five runs for the Rebels in the win.

“We were definitely disappointed but it was a learning experience for us,” Love said. “We’re still a very young team. We had team meetings this week and we are figuring out what we need to work on to make sure we’ll be better equipped when we go back next year.”

In the opener, Tallassee fell 3-1 to Faith after allowing a 2-run homer in the top of the seventh inning. The Tigers moved to the consolation bracket and knew they would need one more win Friday before advancing to Saturday’s games.

“I think they were a little nervous,” Love said. “You could tell they were anxious and maybe a little too amped up for the moment. We were chasing a lot more pitches at the plate than we normally do.”

Tallassee responded with an offensive explosion to knock out Citronelle and to stay alive with a 13-4 win. Chloe Baynes and Belle Haynes each recorded three hits, three runs and two stolen bases in the victory.

The offense was back at it for Saturday morning’s game against Charles Henderson. The Tigers scored at least three runs in every inning before the game was called after four innings with the final score being 16-0.

“It was fun to watch,” Love said. “You could tell they had one mission after that first game and they locked in really well.”

Lexi Love led the team with five RBIs including her seventh home run of the season which was a grand slam in the third inning to extend the lead to 12-0. Baynes and Haynes each scored four times and Jordan Walters got the win in the circle.

Walters returned to the circle for the rematch with Faith as elimination was on the line this time. She pitched seven shutout innings and allowed just six hits to get her 26th win of the season as the Tigers won 7-0.

“She pitched well the whole time. She got behind in the count on some batters that hurt us in that first game but she responded. She pitched hard until the end against them in that second game.”

Baynes was once again leading the offense from the top spot in the batting order. She was the only one on the team with multiple hits and multiple runs in the game, finishing 3 for 4 at the plate and scoring three times.

Tallassee put itself in position to play for a spot in the state tournament but fatigue became an issue after playing three consecutive games Saturday. Love said Walters’ pitch count was high and Rehobeth took advantage of missed pitches early on to end the Tigers’ season.

Despite falling short of Lagoon Park, Love said the Tigers had a lot to be proud of this season. He said there was a lot of fight after the opening loss and he was proud of his players for that.

“We didn’t have a good first day,” Love said. “Once that game was over, you could see they were shocked it happened. We responded well though and fought hard until the end.”

Caleb Turrentine is a sports writer for Tallapoosa Publishers Inc.