Sarah Day made a big throw to put out the lead runner at third base on a bunt, then hit a triple to right field that sent home Danielle Cobb for the winning run, as Fultondale won the Class 2A Area 10 softball championship with a 5-4 victory in eight innings in the finals Thursday at Fultondale Elementary.
It was Day's second triple of the game, to go with a single and a bases-loaded walk that sent in another run.
The Wildcats had to struggle with the Yellow Jackets in their second match-up of the day. The Jackets seemed to show no ill effects of playing four straight games, as they scored three runs in the third inning to take the lead. They followed that up in the bottom of the inning by stopping a Cats rally attempt cold with bases-loaded triple play.
Vincent added a run in the fourth on a double by Ashleigh McCloud.
Fultondale came back in the fourth and scored twice on bases-loaded walks to cut the deficit to 4-3. They tied the game in the sixth when Katrina Hubbard's ground ball was misplayed by the Jackets' shortstop, allowing Cobb to score from second.
In the extra inning, Vincent seemed to be primed for the go-ahead run with runners on second and third with no outs. Ashlynn Melton put down a bunt that died in the mud in front of the plate, but Day picked up the ball and instead threw to third, where Ashley Taylor couldn't get back in time and was tagged out. Another bunt and a ground out to third ended the threat.
Cobb got on board in the bottom of the eighth with a walk, and went to second on a ground out. Then Day sent a line drive to right field for her second three-base hit and the winning run.
The game was a little closer than Wildcat coach David Reed bargained for.
"We had our chances to put the game away early, and we didn't do it," he said. "Credit goes to Vincent. They have a scrappy team, and I tip my hat to them. But Sarah's a leader. When the game's on the line, I love having the bat in her hands."
Winning pitcher Katrina Hubbard went all eight innings, striking out six and giving up three hits. Losing pitcher Courtney Barber also went the distance, allowing five hits while striking out four.
Both teams advance to the North Central Regional next Friday at Liberty Park in Vestavia Hills. Fultondale starts play at 5 p.m. with a game against the runner-up from Area 12 (Lamar County, Phil Campbell, Red Bay, Sulligent).