Walk-off championshipPublished 11:31am Saturday, May 17, 2014
MONTGOMERY – Hannah Jenkins has a new addition to add to her softball collection.
It wasn’t the first softball she saw when coming up to bat in the bottom of the seventh inning with two outs trailing Moody 1-0.
The first four she saw, she fouled them off.
However, the fifth one proved to be the right one.
Facing an 0-2 count, Jenkins smashed the 66th pitch from Moody ace Haley Grace Fulmer over the fence in left center to give Hartselle a 2-1 victory over the Blue Devils on Field 1 of Lagoon Park, clinching the Class 5A state championship in walk-off fashion.
Once she got the ball that gave the Lady Tigers its fourth state championship in school history and its first in 11 years, Jenkins wouldn’t let it go.
“I was like, I’ve got to get a hit – I’ve got to move this runner and get a score,” Jenkins said. “I didn’t know till I got second that it had went over. I just couldn’t believe it.”
What set up the game-winner was a leadoff single by Ashley Boggs. Then Taylor Wascavage, who had the only Hartselle hit prior to the seventh inning, sacrificed to set Boggs up in scoring position.
Jada Hayes nearly tied the game before Jenkins got to the plate. She lined one to left center, only to have Moody’s Payton Swisher rob her of the hit.
However, head coach Christy Ferguson wasn’t concerned at that point.
“I just told her to have a good at bat and get on base,” Ferguson said. “As you can see, she wanted to do it another way, and I was very happy with that.”
Hayes, the tournament MVP, didn’t have her best statistical outing, but she was still effective. She got around allowed just one run on five hits and five walks with two strikeouts.
Hayes had one mistake, which allowed Alexis Moore to hit a home run to give Moody a 1-0 lead in the top of the sixth inning.
But she pitched around several jams without allowing another run.
One of those came from Jenkins, who doubled-up Moody on a popped up bunt.
The Lady Tigers (48-14-1) were the cardiac kids of the Class 5A tournament, playing two in extra innings and three one-run games.
That included a 1-0, eight-inning loss to Moody to start the day. The Lady Tigers then defeated No. 2 Curry for the second time, this time a 1-0 pitcher’s duel to clinch a berth in the state championship.
Hartselle then had to hold off a bases-loaded threat in the bottom of the seventh inning in a 3-1 over Moody to force the final game Friday night.
Ferguson said that’s been the way it’s been all season long.
“They like to do it the hard way and I guess we’re pretty good at that,” Ferguson said. “It’s a dream. These girls have made the best memories they could possibly make tonight – not just for themselves, but also for all of these people who came out here to support them. I can’t say enough, I’m very happy right now.”