PHOTO BY BART MOSS The Tharptown Wildcats softball team won their area and will host the area tournament thanks to big wins last week against Belgreen and Hackleburg.

THS claims area for softball

By Bart Moss for the FCT

The Tharptown Wildcats softball team won their area and will host the area tournament thanks to big wins last week against Belgreen and Hackleburg. Tharptown defeated Belgreen in a nailbiter 7-6 and then easily put Hackleburg away 9-0.

Tharptown 7, Belgreen 6

The Tharptown Wildcats held leads over the Belgreen Bulldogs in their two previous meetings, but Belgreen found a way to come back and win. Last week in a critical area game, Tharptown once again had a big lead. Once again, the Bulldogs mounted a comeback. This time, however, it fell short, and Tharptown escaped with the win and the regular season area championship. The win also gave the Wildcats the right to host the area tournament next week.

Tharptown held a five-run lead after the top half of the third inning. Then, in the bottom half of the third inning, Belgreen began to chip away at the Wildcats’ lead. Tharptown scored two more critical runs in the fifth and sixth innings before the rain and storms came in the later part of the game. Both teams had five hits in the game.

Tharptown got on the board first when Kaylee Bain scored on an RBI double by Klaudia Harris to give the Wildcats a 1-0 lead in the first inning. In the top of the third inning, Bain scored again on fielder’s choice to make it 2-0. Shaylee Wieting scored on sacrifice fly to give the Wildcats a 3-0 lead. Tharptown scored two more in the inning when Taylor Cameron and Cara Ergle scored on a double by Olivia Ergle to give the Wildcats a 5-0 lead.

Belgreen picked up their first run in the bottom of the third on a bases-loaded walk, scoring Bailey Wood.

Tharptown got the run back in the top of the fourth inning when Wieting scored on a fielding error to give the Wildcats a 6-1 lead.

Belgreen cut Tharptown’s lead to 6-3 in the bottom of the fifth inning, when Kacey Wilson hit a two-RBI double scoring Cortney Williams and Katie Dempsey.

Tharptown scored one more in the top of the sixth inning when Wieting scored another Belgreen error to give the Wildcats 7-3.

Belgreen scored two more in the bottom of the sixth inning to cut Tharpotown’s lead to 7-5. Williams doubled in Gracie Dempsey. Emma Scott scored on a Tharptown fielding error.

Belgreen threatened to stage another come-from-behind win or send the game into extra innings in the bottom of the seventh inning. With the bases loaded and two outs, Kacey Wilson scored on a walk. The game ended when Gracie Dempsey was trying to steal home and was tagged out by Tharptown pitcher Olivia Ergle.

Bain led the way for Tharptown at the plate, going 2-for-4 scoring two runs. Wieting reached base three times and scored three times. Harris had two RBIs, and Olivia Ergle had two RBIs.

Williams led the way for Belgreen, going 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored. Scott reached base three times, had two RBIs and scored a run.

Tharptown 9, Hackleburg 0

Olivia Ergle and Taylor Cameron combined for a two-hit shutout of the Hackleburg Panthers to secure Tharptown a regular season area championship last week. The Wildcats scored nine runs on eight hits and took advantage of four Hackleburg errors.

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