Lady Wildcats down Lady Bobcats
PHIL CAMPBELL — The Tharptown Lady Wildcats had a couple of school/program first last season.
The Lady Wildcats had never won a game at the 1A regional tournament in Huntsville before last season. The team ran the gauntlet in the winner’s bracket of the tourney before twice falling to Athens Bible School, making them the tournament’s runner-up.
Tharptown had also never before made it to the state softball tournament, but now, after last year, the team has one win at the state tournament level.
The Lady Wildcats are looking to continue the success they found last season in 2013.
The team lost seniors Chloe Lane, Braeden Sellers and Erika Sparks to graduation in the offseason, but the teams returns a large group of experienced young talent to the softball diamond this year.
The Phil Campbell Lady Bobcats, under new head coach Nina Jackson, who is aided by her husband, experienced assistant coach Doug Jackson, are looking to make it past the area tournament and beyond this season after losing four seniors, including ace pitcher Lindsey Jackson, the daughter of the two coaches.
The two teams collided Thursday afternoon in Phil Campbell for a match between two Franklin County opponents, and it was the Lady Wildcats that came away victorious by a final of 6-0.
The Lady Bobcats had trouble producing on offense and had some base runners thrown out by Tharptown catcher Autumn Sutter.
The Lady Wildcats did not have the same offensive troubles, as a RBI double to the right center field wall by Haley Malone put Tharptown up 1-0 in the top of the first.
Both teams lulled on offense a bit during the second through fifth innings.
Phil Campbell managed to get several runners on base, but they were all thrown out or stranded.
Malone once again added to Tharptown’s score in the top of the sixth with a two-RBI knock.
Pitcher Shelby Palmer followed with a RBI, putting the Lady Wildcats up 4-0 heading into the bottom of the inning.
Phil Campbell was once again unable to answer, and Tharptpwn added two more insurance runs in the top of the seventh thanks to Savannah Hamilton, who hit an RBI and later rounded the bases and stole home plate, producing what ended up being the final score.
“I’m proud of them,” Tharptown head coach Susie Sellers said. “They work hard, they have a competitive spirit and they want to win. We fuel their fire and they take it from there.”