May 7, 2009
The South Lamar High School softball team established a new standard Tuesday by winning the Alabama High School Athletic Association Class A, Area 10 Tournament.
South Lamar played hosted to the event and won the area tournament for the first time in school history by beating Hubbertville 1-0 in the championship game.
"That''s big for our school and our softball program," South Lamar coach Tony Seals said.
South Lamar (27-5) advances to the AHSAA Class A North Central Regional at Liberty Park in Vestavia Hills, Ala. The Lady Stallions, ranked third in Class A, will play No. 10 Collinsville at 10 a.m. Friday in their first game of the double-elimination tournament.
Seals credits girls who have worn the Lady Stallions'' rust red and gold colors in the past for helping this year''s team achieve a program first.
"The team I had four years ago is the group that got this started," Seals said. "They got us over the hump by making it to the state tournament two years in a row. These kids saw that when they were young and now, traditionally in their minds, they think they can get there again.
"You know, athletics is mental and just not ability. When you take care of the mental part, too, you''re going to do some good things. That''s what''s happened. It started four years ago. That was a special bunch, and now I just feel like we''re taking care of business when we need to."
South Lamar got revenge in the championship game after losing to Hubbertville 2-1 earlier Tuesday. The Lady Stallions had the possible tying run thrown out at the plate to end the game.
Laken Hancock, a transfer from Caledonia High, pitched for South Lamar in the championship game.
Hancock pitched despite still recovering from an injury she suffered three weeks ago sliding into second base during a game.
"Laken pitched well," Seals said. "She didn''t allow many hits. We didn''t allow many baserunners. We made the routine plays. We made a few big plays.
"(Hancock) is not 100 percent. I was happy for her and happy for the team. We''re excited about going to regionals."
South Lamar began the area tournament last week by beating Berry 5-4 and Hubbertville 6-0.