Tigers grab four wins at tournament before break

With the final stretch of the regular season beginning, the Tallassee softball team took some time off during spring break to prepare for its postseason push. However, before the rest period began, the Tigers took a trip to Pensacola to participate in the Milton Tournament.

After losing their opener 6-1 to Choctawhatchee, the Tigers reeled off four consecutive wins to improve to 25-4 on the season. Tallassee averaged only 4.5 runs per game but got good appearances from the pitching staff to roll into the break with some momentum.

“We went 4-1 so there’s not a lot more you can ask for,” Tallassee coach Pat Love said. “We didn’t hit the ball our best but our intensity and focus was still there.”

The Tigers had to quickly turn around from the opening loss to play Milton. After trading runs through the first five innings, Tallassee took the lead behind RBI singles from Ivory Champion and Anslee Osborne.

Sinclair Cole pitched a complete game while allowing zero earned runs in the 4-2 win. She allowed nine hits but struck out five and stranded five runners on base. Cole pitched two complete games during the tournament and allowed just one earned run across 16 innings of work.

“She did really well,” Love said. “She’s not putting runners on base and she pounds the strike zone. That’s what you want from your pitchers, that’s always going to be good for us.”

Jordan Walters was in the circle for the next game as Tallassee knocked off Escambia 7-1. Walters struck out seven and allowed one unearned run in her 14th win of the season.

She added another victory in the final game of the tournament when the Tigers defeated Milton for the second time. Walters allowed only four hits while Tallassee grabbed a 4-1 win.

“They came out and smacked us in the mouth during that first game,” Love said. “We easily could have rolled over from there but we responded well.”

While the offense had its fair share of struggles over the course of the tournament, the top of the order helped secure enough runs for the four wins. Chloe Baynes led the team with 12 hits, reaching base in 63 percent of her at bats, while Lexi Love led the Tigers with seven runs scored and three RBIs.

“That’s huge for us,” Love said. “Sometimes one run can win you a ballgame. You’re not going to hit the ball well every game so sometimes you have to work hard for those runs and it starts at the top.”

After the tournament, the Tigers took five days off practice before returning to the field Monday. Love said the trip and the rest of the week was always about more than the results on the field.

“The thing about that trip is that we all got to stay together,” Love said. “We did a lot of stuff outside of softball and focused on growing as a team through those bonding experiences.”