April 23, 2009
A chance to play host to the Alabama High School Athletic Association Class 2A, Area 11 Tournament will be on the line for the Lamar County High School softball team Monday when it plays Oakman.
Lamar County (15-8, 4-1 area) has to beat Oakman to force a tie for first place. It then has to win a coin toss to earn the opportunity to play host to the area tournament a week from Friday and Saturday.
The Lady Bulldogs missed an opportunity to take sole possession of first place in the area Wednesday when it lost at Oakman 10-0.
A rematch with the area championship is scheduled for 4 p.m. Monday at Lamar County High School in Vernon, Ala.
"We know we''re going to have to hit the ball when we play them, and play sound defense," Lamar County coach Steve Brock said. "I think it will be a different ball game when we play them at home."
Brock is confident his team can win the second game against Oakman and force a coin flip to determine the area champion.
"It''s better than going to Oakman to play," Brock said of a possible coin toss. "You at least have a chance to host it."
On Wednesday, the Lady Bulldogs managed only singles by Kristina Crawford, Kimberley Elliott, Whitney Hudson, Jordan Primm, and Laura Rector.
Despite the loss, Brock feels good how the Lady Bulldogs have played leading up to the area tournament.
"I feel our bats are starting to come alive a little better than we were hitting at the beginning of the year," Brock said. "Defensively we''re about the same. Our pitching has gotten better throughout the season. I''m hoping that will carry us on through the area tournament and we can go on to Birmingham (Ala.) for the first round of the state playoffs."
Lamar County''s pitcher is Victoria Godsey.
A team that looks to play a spoiler role in the area tournament is Sulligent. (12-13, 1-5), which snapped a five-game losing streak by beating Marion County 5-2 Wednesday.
"At one point I thought we were (playing better), but we''ve kind of backed up the last week or so. We were sitting OK at 11-8 and all of a sudden we lost five in a row."
The Lady Blue Devils snapped their losing streak when freshman pitcher Montana Hawkins allowed one earned run and two hits and struck out 13.
Holley Reeves had a double, three singles and an RBI, DeShona Lowe had a double, single and two RBIs, and Scooter Roberts had a double and two RBIs.
While Lamar County has an outside chance to host its area tournament, the South Lamar Lady Stallions already know they will play host to the Class A, Area 10 Tournament.
South Lamar (23-4, 5-1) clinched the top seed in the area tournament Tuesday when it beat Hubbertville 4-2 behind the one-hit pitching of freshman Kendra Wilson.
"When you throw a one-hitter against Hubbertville, you''ve done something," said South Lamar coach Tony Seals, who was down to one pitcher. "It just so happened that the one hit was a home run."
South Lamar is ranked No. 4 and Hubbertville is No. 6 as the area tournament on Wednesday and Thursday approaches.
Seals hopes to have pitchers Laken Hancock and Brittany Sanford back for the area tournament. Hancock, a freshman transfer from Caledonia, twisted her knee Monday sliding into second base, while Sanford has been sick for a week and a half."
"(Hancock) may be out for the season," Seals said. "We sent her to Birmingham to see Dr. Andrews. She couldn''t bend her knee the next morning. They did and MRI (Tuesday), so we''ll find something out."
Pitching has been a key for South Lamar as Hancock, Sanford, and Wilson have combined for an 0.91 ERA.
South Lamar will play host to the area tournament for the first time in Seals'' coaching tenure.
"It''s a big advantage (playing at home)," Seals said. "When you play at home and you have the home crowd supporting you and your kids are used to playing on the field.
"We''re excited. Our kids have come from not being very good to being pretty good. They''re excited about taking the next step."
The bracket hasn''t been determined, but Seals expects South Lamar to play Berry and Hubbertville to play Parrish in the first round of the area tournament.
The top two teams in the area tournaments advance to play in regional tournaments.