The Lady Eagles picked up a pair of shutout wins during the first day of Class 2A competition at Montgomery’s Lagoon Park.
T’Ebonie Tanner sparked a Sumiton Christian rally in the fifth inning of the first game and the bats didn’t slow down the rest of the day as the Lady Eagles picked up a 2-0 win over Houston Academy before blanking Lexington 7-0 in the nightcap.
Sumiton Christian is now halfway to earning a second state championship in the last three years.
Two-time defending 2A state champ Hatton stands directly in the Lady Eagles’ path to the title. No. 1 Hatton and No. 2 Sumiton Christian meet in the winner’s bracket final at 10:30 a.m. today with the winner earning a spot in the championship game set for 5:30 today.
“We are where we want to be,” Sumiton Christian coach Jessica Aderholt said. “We’ll be even better if we win that game at 10:30. That’s a big one.”
Hatton (40-10-2) advanced on Friday with a 5-1 win over Goshen followed by a 5-0 victory over Mobile Christian.
For Sumiton Christian, Tanner had a banner day. In the opener, she came through with a two-run triple to break a scoreless tie in the fifth inning.
She followed that up with a perfect 4 for 4 performance against Lexington with three runs and an RBI.
While Tanner led the team at the plate, Cadi Oliver and Katie Justice both earned wins on the mound. The duo held the competition to four hits and two walks in 13 innings.
Oliver got the win in the first game, giving up two hits and one walk while striking out four. Oliver also threw three scoreless innings to open the nightcap.
She gave up one hit and struck out one. Justice threw the final three innings, allowing one hit and one walk while striking out two.
Against Houston Academy, the Lady Eagles got off to a slow start. At the plate, Sumiton Christian’s first seven outs came via the strikeout.
“We just started really slow,” Aderholt said. “I think everybody was pressing to get a hit. As the innings went on, it got worse. Eventually, everybody just took a deep breath and realized we were OK.”
When second-ranked Sumiton Christian needed a big hit late in game Tanner stepped to the plate and delivered — connecting for a two-run triple to help Eagles to a 2-0 over the Houston Academy Raiders.
After four scoreless innings, Oliver reached second base on her second double of the day. She advanced to third after Justice drove a shot to right field and moved to second following an errant throw — setting up Tanner’s two-RBI triple.
At the plate, Oliver was 2 for 3 with two doubles and a run scored. Kendall Beth Sides was 2 for 3 with a stolen base, while Justice was 1 for 3 with a run scored.
Against Lexington, last year’s state runner up, Sumiton Christian took control with a pair of runs in the opening inning. Oliver led off the game with a walk and Tanner followed with a bunt single. After a Katlyn Sides sacrifice, both runners scored on a Kendell Hamm single.
Sumiton Christian added a run in the third when Sides drove in Oliver with an RBI single. The Lady Eagles pushed their lead to 5-0 in the fourth when Kendall Beth Sides reached on an error and scored a throwing error. Later in the inning, Haleigh Lane singled and scored on a Kathryn Warren single.
The Lady Eagles scored two more runs in the fifth inning. Tanner singled to lead off the inning and Katlyn Sides reached on an error. Tanner later scored on a wild pitch and Hamm drove in Katlyn Sides with a sacrifice fly for a 7-0 lead.
Sumiton Christian ended the game early thanks to a four-run sixth inning. Oliver, Tanner, Hamm and Kendall Beth Sides had RBIs.
Sumiton Christian (52-15) pounded out 14 hits in the win.
Tanner was 4 for 4 with three runs and an RBI, Oliver was 2 for 3 with two runs and an RBI, Kendall Beth Sides was 2 for 4 with a run and an RBI, Justice was 2 for 3 with a run, Warren finished 1 for 3 with a run and an RBI, Katlyn Sides was 1 for 3 with an RBI, Lane was 1 for 3 with a run and Hamm was 1 for 4 with three RBIs.