Making your annual plans to see a local high school softball team at the AHSAA State Tournament this week in Montgomery?
For the first time since 1999 —and possibly before that — there will be no team representing northern Jefferson or southern Blount counties at the big tournament this year.
Of the four local teams that advanced to their respective regional playoffs last weekend, only two even won a game. The others went two-and-out in the double-elimination brackets.
The last to go down was the one with the best history. Mortimer Jordan, which made it to the North Central Regional in Tuscaloosa after knocking off the defending Class 5A champion Hayden in their area tournament, started off with a 5-3 win over eighth-ranked McAdory.
But the No. 5 Blue Devils lost their second game on Friday to Moody by a 2-1 score, dumping Jordan into the loser’s bracket.
The Devils started off bright and early Saturday morning with one of the best pitching performances that junior Natalie Johnsey has ever turned in. She threw a 4-0 no-hitter against a strong Pleasant Grove team, in which only two Spartan runners reached base — one on a walk, and another on a throwing error by Johnsey that pulled first baseman Alexandra Copeland’s foot off the base.
That set up an afternoon tilt against Springville, a team which historically given Jordan everything it could handle over the years.
After putting up two quick runs in the first inning on a bases-loaded wild pitch followed by an error, the Tigers retaliated with three in the bottom of the inning on a two-run double plus a wild pitch by starter Bailey Murphy.
Then things got ugly for the Devils, as Springville posted four runs in the second inning. The bases were juiced thanks to an error and a misplayed bunt, and coach Shawn Maze pulled Murphy out of the circle in favor of Johnsey, who walked in two runs.