Curry makes history with regional win
by Johnathan Bentley
May 12, 2013 | 2393 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Curry's Shannon Rowe waits to tag out McAdory's Kaleigh Todd (9) on a stolen base attempt in the sixth inning of their game at the North Central Regional Tournament on Saturday. Photo by Johnathan Bentley
Curry's Shannon Rowe waits to tag out McAdory's Kaleigh Todd (9) on a stolen base attempt in the sixth inning of their game at the North Central Regional Tournament on Saturday. Photo by Johnathan Bentley
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Curry’s Ella Banks, right, is congratulated by Haleigh Lane (3) after Banks scored a run against McAdory on Saturday. The Yellow Jackets won the game to earn their first ever trip to the State Softball Tournament.
Photo by Johnathan Bentley
Curry’s Ella Banks, right, is congratulated by Haleigh Lane (3) after Banks scored a run against McAdory on Saturday. The Yellow Jackets won the game to earn their first ever trip to the State Softball Tournament. Photo by Johnathan Bentley
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Curry coach Annah Cagle, right, talks to Gabby Englebert (12) and Jordan McPherson (13) during Saturday's game. Photo by Johnathan Bentley
Curry coach Annah Cagle, right, talks to Gabby Englebert (12) and Jordan McPherson (13) during Saturday's game. Photo by Johnathan Bentley
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TUSCALOOSA — Ashlee Swindle went through her wind up and fired her last pitch past the final McAdory hitter.

From there, chaos broke out on the field at Tuscaloosa’s Sokol Park.

Curry players leapt into the air, threw their gloves in celebration and shed tears of joy — for the first time in school history, Curry is going to the State Softball Tournament.

The Yellow Jackets beat McAdory 3-0 in the winner’s bracket final at the North Central Regional Tournament. With the win, Curry earned the No.1 qualifier spot from the regional tournament.

Next up for the Yellow Jackets is a game vs. Briarwood Christian (27-14) at noon Friday at Lagoon Park in Montgomery.

“This team has had its ups and downs, but we really came together,” Curry coach Annah Cagle said. “I’m proud to be part of school history with this group.”

Curry had come close to the State Softball Tournament before, finishing one win shy six years ago.

This time, the Yellow Jackets left no doubt.

Swindle limited McAdory to five hits and struck out five. McAdory’s best scoring threat came in the second inning after a single and a double put runners on second and third base with two outs. Swindle struck out the next batter to get out of the inning. No McAdory base runner reached second base the rest of the way.

“Swindle was awesome. That’s all I can say about her,” Cagle added. “That’s what she does every game.”

Swindle, a freshman, finished the tournament 2-0, allowing no runs in14 innings of work.

“I was very nervous,” Swindle said of Saturday’s matchup vs. McAdory. “It was intense. We’ve never made it to state in school history. Just making the school proud is great.”

Curry catcher Emily Aaron played a huge part on defense, throwing out base runners in the fifth and sixth innings.

Curry’s offense finally broke through in the bottom of the fifth inning.

Gabby Englebert singled to lead off the inning. After she stole second base, Jordan McPherson followed with a single to put runners on the corners.

With one out, Kaylee Horton laced a single to right field to put Curry on the scoreboard.

“I felt once we got that run, that would break the ice,” Cagle said. “We were able to get a couple of runs after that, too.”

The Yellow Jackets padded their lead in the bottom of the sixth. Haleigh Lane led off the with a triple and scored on Ella Banks’ single for a 2-0 lead. Later in the inning, Englebert and McPherson singled to drive in Banks with the third run.

Offensively for Curry, Banks was 2 for 3 with a run and an RBI, Englebert was 2 for 3 with a run and McPherson was 2 for 3 with an RBI. Lane was 1 for 3 with a run, Shauna Rowe was 1 for 3 and Kaylee Horton was 1 for 4.

Curry finished the regional tournament with a perfect 3-0 mark, beating Moody 4-0 and Pleasant Grove 8-1 on Friday.

Hayden battled its way out of the loser’s bracket to finish as the Class 5A No. 2 qualifier.

McAdory upset Hayden 5-4 in their second-round game Saturday’s morning, which was continued from Friday night.

Hayden earned a spot at the state tournament by beating Moody, Springville and McAdory.

Saturday’s win continued a memorable postseason for Curry. The Yellow Jackets were the third seed in the area tournament and knocked off perennial 5A state powerhouse Mortimer Jordan twice to earn a spot at the regional.

Mortimer Jordan had been to the state tournament each of the last 10 years.

“We were kind of the underdog going into the area. We were behind MoJo and ended up beating them twice,” Curry’s Taylor Black said. “When we got to the regional, everybody thought Moody would beat us. Curry has always been the underdog.”

“We showed them,” Shauna Rowe added.

Curry (32-17) may not have a senior on the active roster — senior Chelsea Hunt has been injured this season— but the Yellow Jackets are filled with experience behind a group that includes seven juniors.

“We’ve been together since we were young. We always wanted (to get to state),” Shannon Rowe said.

The juniors on the roster are: Ella Banks, Logan Black, Holli McGinnis, Jordan McPherson, Taylor Black, Shannon Rowe and Shauna Rowe.

There are also two sophomores (Haleigh Lane and Gabby Englebert) and six freshmen (Hannah York, Taylor Rowe, Kaylee Horton, Anna Leonard, Emily Aaron and Ashlee Swindle) on the team.

———

Cordova takes third at regional

Good Hope got the best of Cordova for the second time, defeating the Blue Devils 2-1 in their game Saturday at the North Central Regional Tournament.

Cordova battled its way through the loser’s bracket, defeating Northside 4-2 and Gordo 3-1, before being eliminated by the Red Raiders.

No. 2 Good Hope finished as the No. 2 qualifier from Class 3A, behind No. 1 qualifier Winfield.

Winfield earned the top spot by outlasting Good Hope 2-1 in 14 innings.

Good Hope played a pair of 14-inning games in the two-day tournament. The Red Raiders defeated Cordova 1-0 in their first meeting.

On Saturday, the game was a scoreless tie until the bottom of the sixth when Good Hope pushed across two runs.

Darby Randolph walked to lead off the inning and Kayla Tillman followed with an infield single. After a sacrifice moved the runners up one base, Cara Goodwin delivered a two-run single.

The run held up in the seventh.

Cordova got one run back when Hannah Ingram tripled with one out and scored on an error.

Goodwin ended the game with her seventh strikeout. She allowed two hits and three walks.

Cordova’s Faith Sims took the loss. She gave up four hits and struck out nine Good Hope batters, while walking one.

At the plate, Sims was 1 for 2 while Ingram was 1 for 3 with a triple and a run.

In Cordova’s 3-1 win over Gordo, Sims allowed six hits and struck out six in seven innings to earn the victory.

At the plate, Hanna McLemore was 2 for 2 with a run and a stolen base. Mabry Norris was 1 for 1 with two RBIs, Maggie Benson was 1 for 3 with a run and both Sims and Madison Westbrook added hits.

Cordova scored all three runs in the sixth inning. Mary Grace Kilpatrick scored on an error and Norris drove in both McLemore and Benson with a clutch pinch-hit single.

The Blue Devils opened the day with a win over Northside. Cordova scored all four of its runs in the second inning.

Sims got the win. She allowed three hits and two walks while striking out 10 in seven innings.

———

Corner finishes as top qualifier at South Central Regional

There wasn’t much suspense in the Class 4A winner’s bracket final at the South Central Regional Tournament on Saturday.

Corner made quick work of Holtville in a 10-1 win to earn the No. 1 qualifier position as well as a spot in next week’s State Softball Tournament.

The Yellow Jackets (30-11) went a perfect 3-0 in the tournament, outscoring their opponents 25-5.

Next up for Corner is a game against Sardis at 9 a.m. Thursday at Montgomery’s Lagoon Park.

The winner of that game advances to a second-round game at 1:30 p.m.