The Eagles’ answer — a lot.
Sumiton Christian picked up a pair of lopsided wins over American Christian Academy (ACA) on the day to claim the North-Central Regional Tournament Class 2A title.
Next up for the Lady Eagles is a fourth straight trip to the State Softball Tournament at Montgomery’s Lagoon Park. Sumiton Christian takes on Houston Academy at 9 a.m. Friday.
“Making it to state never gets old,” Sumiton Christian coach Jessica Aderholt said.
“That’s what you work for all year. You want to play well during the season, but you also know that you are trying to get ready for the big finish.”
The second-ranked Lady Eagles appeared ready for state on Saturday. Sumiton Christian (49-15) opened up with a 13-1 victory over the Lady Patriots and finished off the tournament with a 9-3 victory over American Christian.
For the tournament, Sumiton Christian outscored its competition 46-4 in four games. Three of the runs came with two outs in the final inning of the championship game against ACA.
Sumiton Christian has won its last four regional tournament titles, outscoring the competition by a total of 163-13 over that period.
Cadi Oliver and Kendall Beth Sides picked up wins on the mound Saturday, Katie Justice also pitched two perfect innings.
At the plate, Clara Bowen hit a three-run home run in the first game against ACA and Oliver belted a solo shot in the championship game.
More importantly, the team didn’t make costly errors.
“We played really good defense. I was impressed with that. Over the four games we had two or three errors,” Aderholt added.
Sumiton Christian sent 15 batters to the plate in a seven-run, second inning to put the first game out of reach. Oliver picked up the victory, allowing four hits and one walk while striking out seven in five innings.
At the plate, Oliver was 3 for 4 with a double, three runs and two RBIs, T’Ebonie Tanner was 2 for 4 with two runs and two RBIs, Katlyn Sides was 2 for 2 with a run and two RBIs, Kendell Hamm was 2 for 3 with a double, a run and three RBIs, Kathryn Warren was 3 for 3 with two doubles and two runs.
In the title game, Sumiton Christian scored in each of the first four innings, building a 9-0 lead.
Katlyn Sides drove in a pair of runs with a double in the first inning.
Warren added a RBI-single in the second inning followed by an Oliver mammoth solo home run, her 18th of the season. Tanner reached on a walk, stole two bases and scored on an errant throw for a 5-0 lead.
Bowen came through with an RBI double and Haleigh Lane added a sacrifice fly in the third inning for a 7-0 lead. Sides had a run-scoring single and Hamm followed with an RBI-double for the final run of the game.
Kendall Beth Sides got the win in relief, allowing six hits and striking out one in four innings.
Justice struck out two in two innings.
Oliver was 2 for 3 with a double, a home run, a stolen base, two runs and an RBI, Tanner was 2 for 2 with four stolen bases and three runs, Katlyn Sides was 1 for 2 with four RBIs, Hamm was 2 for 3 with a stolen base, a double and an RBI while Warren, Bowen and Kendall Beth Sides each added hits.
The Lady Eagles were knocked off by Hatton twice.
Hatton is on the opposite side of this year’s bracket.
On Sumiton Christian’s half of the bracket, the winner of the Sumiton Christian-Houston Academy game takes on the winner of the Leroy-Lexington game at 4 p.m. Friday.
The winner’s bracket final is set for 10:30 a.m. Saturday with the championship game at 5:30 p.m.