By Charles Prince
The North Jefferson News
MONTGOMERY — They know how to play well in big games. They do it every time they reach the state tournament. For the third straight season, the Mortimer Jordan Lady Blue Devils got their state tourney appearance to a good start, as they opened with a win over Spanish Fort on Friday morning, to move into the winner’s bracket semi-finals of the 5A portion of the AHSAA state championship tournament.
Behind the 10-strikeout, four-hit pitching of senior Michelle Cheatwood, the Lady Devils improved to 47-4 overall.
Spanish Fort didn’t threaten until the bottom of the seventh inning, after Jordan had built a three-run lead.
The Lady Devils struck first when freshman Blair Johnson reached on a two-base error by a Spanish Fort outfielder.
Johnson then moved to third on a groundout by Erin Whitlock and came racing home on a wild pitch.
In the sixth inning, sophomore catcher Morgan “Mo” Estell hammered a solo home run over the fence in right center to increase the margin to two runs.
In the top of the seventh, Johnson doubled, moved to third on Whitlock’s sacrifice and came home on an error.
Cheatwood (23-2), had a one-hitter going entering the last of the seventh inning—an infield single in the bottom of the first inning—but, Spanish Fort would rally and make the game interesting in the home half of the seventh. Amie Kelly lead off the frame with a double to the gap in left center. Morgan Yates then walked.
Pinch hitter Kake Faquay then doubled in a run and gave the Lady Toros runners on second and third with no outs.
Cheatwood then responded with a strikeout of Taylor Nail and, induced a pop up from Tera Reeves, before ending the game on strikeout of Morgan Durhan.
Mortimer Jordan 3,
The Lady Blue Devils moved into this morning’s winner’s bracket final against the winner of Rehobeth/St. Pauls, as they whipped the club that eliminated them from the 2007 tournament.
Blair Johnson (23-1), struck out eight and allowed just two hits as Jordan improved to 48-4.
Freshman Alyssa Linn was the hitting star, as she went 2-for-2 with a triple and a single. Linn scored one run.
Jordan broke a scoreless tie in the fourth inning, when Brandy Worden singled and Shelbey Faucett reached on an error.
Kayla Cox then doubled both runners home for a 2-0 Lady Devil lead.
In the fifth inning, Linn singled and came home on Blair Johnson’s double.
Jordan collected five hits, three of the extra base variety to move into what could be a showdown with Rehobeth.
In the final Alabama Sports Writers Association Softball poll of the season, Rehobeth finished the year ranked No. 1, while Jordan finished the season with the No. 2-ranking.
Estell drew a walk and added a single, but failed to score.
Jordan won despite striking out 10 times at the plate, as their timely rallies were sandwiched around whiffs.
By Charles Prince