Hayden scored four runs in the fourth inning to take the lead for good, on its way to a 5-3 win over Curry in the loser's bracket final of the Class 5A Area 11 Softball Tournament at Mortimer Jordan.
The win gives the Wildcats a berth in the North Central Regional next week, their first trip ot that level since the regional-tournament format began in the middle of the last decade.
The Cats knocked starting Curry pitcher Holli McGinnis out of the game after she gave up a lead-off hit and en error to Destiny Busby and a single to Caitlin Kirkland. Eighth-grade ace Ashlee Swindle came in to pitch, but after getting Katie Parr to hit into a fielder's choice that got Kirkland out at second base, Swindle then yielded a hit to Kayla Byrd, followed by a triple by Madison McMickin that scored two runs. McMickin then came home on Nikki Watt's hit.
After the Yellow Jackets opened the scoring with two runs in the first inning, Parr put the Wildcats on the board with a long solo home run to right field in the second.
Curry got one run back in the fifth Shannon Rowe singled to center, then scored on a Hayden error. They had chances to tie or win the game in the top of the sevent with runners at second and third with no outs, but the Jackets hit a short fly ball to center, then grounded out twice to Parr at third base, who forced runners out to end the game.