After all, the Yellow Jackets have been here before.
For the second straight season, Curry came away from the North Central Regional Tournament as the No. 1 qualifier. The Yellow Jackets locked up the top spot with a 6-2 victory over Moody at Sokol Park in Tuscaloosa.
Second-ranked Curry broke open a close game with three runs over the final two innings against the Blue Devils.
Next up is the state tournament at Montgomery’s Lagoon Park starting Thursday. The Jackets take on Saraland at 10:30 a.m.
“Last year was our first year (at state) and it felt great,” Curry senior outfielder Ella Banks said. “This year, we know how it feels. We know we’ve still got work to do.”
Curry finished a perfect 3-0 in Tuscaloosa. After a blowout win over Brookwood, Curry needed extra innings to knock off Springville 2-1 Friday afternoon, setting up Saturday’s victory.
Banks came through for the Jackets in the Springville game, throwing out a base runner at the plate in the eighth inning and delivering the game-winning hit that scored Kaylee Horton in the ninth inning.
Curry had another back-and-forth game with Moody Saturday before finally taking control in the sixth inning.
“This was a good tournament for us,” Curry coach Annah Cagle said. “With that Springville game and then Moody, we really had to step up our game. I think we are playing intense right now. The girls are excited. Last year we just wanted to make it (to state). We want to win it this year. The girls have stepped up their goals.”
Katie Justice and Ashlee Swindle combined to pitch seven innings against Moody with Justice going the first three innings and earning the win. Swindle went the last four innings.
“This is nothing. We are ready for next week,” Justice said. “I’m so excited. I can’t wait. We’ve worked hard all season and it’s all coming together at once.”
Curry (44-7) is the top-ranked team left in the state after No. 1 Hayden was eliminated from the 5A, Area 12 Tournament last week.
That makes Curry the team to beat.
“This is a big opportunity for us because we have the best team around, I think,” sophomore leadoff hitter Kaylee Horton said. “(At Montgomery) we are just going to have to come together — hitting, fielding and pitching — and get the job done. I think we are the best team when we are on.”
Class 5A Winner’s
Curry 6, Moody 2
The Yellow Jackets punched their ticket to the state tournament with the 6-2 victory over the Moody Blue Devils.
Justice pitched the first three innings for the Yellow Jackets, giving up three hits, a run, a walk and striking out two batters. Swindle pitched the final four innings, giving up two hits, two walks, a run and striking out one batter.
At the plate, Kaylee Horton was 3 for 4 with two runs scored and a triple, while Courtney Howse went 3 for 4 with a run scored. Justice went 2 for 3 with two runs scored, while Haleigh Lane was 2 for 3 with a run scored.
Horton opened the scoring for the game in the first inning after crossing the plate, with Moody responding to tie the contest, 1-1.
After a scoreless second inning, Horton scored again, followed with a run by Justice to allow Curry to take the 3-1 third-inning lead.
The Blue Devils closed the scoring gap to 3-2 in the fifth inning, before Howse and Lane came home to extend their lead to 5-2 in the sixth inning. Justice scored a final run in the seventh inning for the 6-2 win. Next week’s trip to Montgomery’s Lagoon Park will be the second-consecutive state tournament appearance for Curry, which took third behind Hayden and Scottsboro in 2013.
Northside 4, Cordova 2
The Cordova Blue Devils were eliminated from postseason contention following a 4-2 loss to the Northside Rams in the loser’s bracket portion of the North Central Region tournament.
Cordova’s Faith Sims surrendered seven hits, four runs and two walks while striking out 10 batters in the loss for the Blue Devils.
At the plate, Sims was 2 for 4, while Maggie Benson, Hannah McLemore, Hannah Ingram and Grayson Kilpatric all recorded hits.
Cordova (36-18-1) took a quick lead in the first inning, with McLemore and Ingram crossing the plate for a 2-0 advantage.
Neither team scored for the next two innings, with the Rams breaking the scoring drought with a four-run, fourth inning surge that led to the 4-2 final.
Class 1A Addison battles its way to state tournament
Addison fought its way through the loser’s bracket for a trip to Montgomery on Saturday.
Following a Game 2 loss to Athens Bible on Friday, the Bulldogs’ only chance at receiving a state tournament berth was to win three straight games on Saturday.
Addison did just that, beating Spring Garden 3-2, Collinsville 5-0 and Athens Bible 5-2.
The Bulldogs (30-15) finished as the North Regional Tournament No. 2 qualifier behind Falkville.
Both teams compete in Class 1A, Area 15.
Addison will take on No. 2 Ragland at 9 a.m. Thursday at Montgomery’s Lagoon Park in its State Softball Tournament opener.
Three Winston County schools made the state field — Addison, Lynn and Haleyville.