By Robert Carter
North Jefferson News
— It’s Monday, and we have a new local state championship softball team…
Weather: Sunny and warm. Morning clouds will clear out, giving us sunny skies with highs in the upper 80s. Tuesday will be our hottest day so far this year, with a high reaching 90.
Tornadoes in the Plains. A series of twisters killed one man and did major damage in parts of Oklahoma and Kansas on Sunday. The fatality happened near the town of Shawnee, Okla., where a mobile home park took a direct hit. The casualties could have been worse, but forecasters had predicted the outbreak for days and many tornadoes were shown live in television, so the public was well-warned. The area could see even more tornadoes today.
Last day. The state legislature concludes its session today with the usually final-day traffic jam. Among the more prominent measures for action is a possible override of a veto of the Alabama Accountability Act, for which Gov. Robert Bentley wants a two-year delay in order to pay back the education rainy-day fund, which is owed money from previous borrowing. Also up for a vote is the gun bill proposed by Sen. Scott Beason, R-Gardendale, which would permit gun owners to carry their guns in the parking lot of their workplace, provided it is locked away and not loaded.
Sports: A state championship for Hayden. The Wildcats went undefeated in the AHSAA Class 5A state softball tournament over the weekend, shutting out top-ranked Scottsboro 2-0 in the semifinal game and then again in the title contest by a 1-0 score. Pitching was dominant throughout, as Hayden ace Caitlin Kirkland — named the tournament’s most valuable player — only allowed runs in one out of four games. In the two wins over Scottsboro, the winning runs both came on home runs in the first tinning: Katie Parr’s two-run blast to left field in the semifinal, and Brooke Meadows with a lead-off solo shot in the championship. Meadows and eighth-grade center fielder Meleah Hargett were both named to the all-tournament team. It’s the first time that Hayden has won a state title in an AHSAA-sanctioned varsity sport; the school has won five state championships in the last three years in so-called “club sports,” including this year in bass fishing (their third) and powerlifting (their second). It’s also the first-ever AHSAA championship for any Blount County school aside from Oneonta… College softball: Even though they had somewhat of a late-season swoon, Alabama showed no signs of it over the weekend, as they ripped through their NCAA regional tournament. The Crimson Tide took down Western Kentucky 13-1 in five innings in Sunday’s final game, as Kaila Hunt provided the big blow with a grand slam. Former Mortimer Jordan standout Haylie McCleney was 3-for-3 with two RBIs and three runs scored. For the Hilltoppers, third baseman and former Corner infielder Preslie Cruce was 0-for-2 in the final game; she drove in a run in the Toppers’ 7-6 loss to Alabama in their first contest on Saturday.