By Charles Prince
The North Jefferson News
MONTGOMERY — After three years of trying, the Corner Lady Yellow Jackets finally won their 4A state tournament opener.
The win was the first at the state tourney since Aaron James took over the program in 2006.
Corner’s bats came alive for 15 hits in a 11-6 victory over Ashford. The Lady Jackets (40-14) moved into the winner’s bracket semi-finals against St. James.
Senior pitcher Elizabeth Allred was in command most of the way, as Corner built an 8-0 lead, before James lifted Allred in favor of Heather Anderson.
Ashford responded with a rally to cut the lead to 8-5, but James re-inserted Allred and Ashford never threatened again.
Allred (21-8), struck out six and allowed only two hits.
Corner used the long-ball to do most of their damage at the plate, as Haley Anderson and her sister Heather, each hit a two-run homer. Mandy Slatton went 2-for-3 with a double, a single, two runs scored and two RBIs.
“We were pretty sick of coming down here and chocking every time we got here,” Slatton said. “We saw fast pitching today and that’s what we like to hit.”
Corner scored two runs in the top of the first and added six more in the fourth to break the game open.
After Spanish Fort cut the lead to 8-5, Corner responded with two runs in the top of the sixth inning and one more in the top of the seventh inning.
Slatton, smashed a ground double in the six-run rally in the fourth, didn’t run right away, because she thought the ball was heading out of play.
“I didn’t think it was going to be a home run (it bounced off the fence), but I thought it was going foul, that’s why I started out jogging on the play,” she said.
St. James 1,
Allred (21-9) took the loss, despite allowing only three hits.
St. James advances to the play Alexandria/Lawrence County winner, while Corner falls into the loser’s bracket and must face Alabama Christian in an elimination game. Should Corner lose again, they would be eliminated from the tourney.
Kendall Teel scored the game’s only run when she lead off the fifth inning with a single and came around to score. She moved to third, before coming home on a Lady Yellow Jacket error.
Robyn Harmon was the winning pitcher, allowing five hits and striking out 10 Corner batters. Allred struck out 10 Lady Trojans.
At the plate for the Lady Jackets, Haley Anderson had two singles as she went 2-for-3, but Corner never advanced a runner past second base.
Jennifer Tolbert doubled to lead off the sixth inning, but wouldn’t come home, as Harmon got two fly outs and a ground ball to end the threat.
In the seventh, Heather Anderson singled and Lindsay Cannon then walked with two outs, but, Harmon struck out the next batter for the win.
By Charles Prince