By Dallas Bordon
Coach Rodney Rogers is becoming pretty familiar with the road to Florida.
For the past two years, Rogers has made that trip south with his all-star softball team to take part in the Regional Tournament in Ft. Myers. This season will be no different as Madison County’s Senior League All-Star softball team defeated Northern of Columbus 6-1 on Monday to claim their third straight state championship.
Madison County swept the weekend state tournament on its own home turf and will now prepare to take a trip to Florida for the regional tournaments beginning this weekend.
The title game against Northern had the same flavor as the game on Sunday, except the taste was much sweeter. On Sunday, Madison County came out of the gates early scoring four in the first inning but had to battle back to win later in the game. On Monday, Madison County posted three runs in the first frame and held on to capture the flag thanks to an eight-strikeout performance by starting pitcher Tatum Harris.
Harris went the distance, allowing one run on five hits and retired the first six batters she faced. On offense, Kacie James got things started right away with a leadoff double and ended up scoring on a single by Casie Wade. Wade accounted for the second Madison County run scoring on a hit by Bri Morgan, who would later cross home on a double steal to give Madison County a 3-0 lead.
The three-run first inning was all the scoring both teams would produce until Madison County pushed across another three spot in the top of the sixth inning to put a lid on another state title. Kirsten Casper led off the frame with a walk and Kacie James reached on an error. Both runners made a trip home courtesy of a Tatum Harris double. Prior to Harris’ double down the left field line, Bri Morgan reached on a single and advanced on the double by Harris. Kelsie Palmer drove home Morgan with a sacrifice fly to put Madison County on top 6-0. Northern was able to manage its only run that came in the sixth inning, but fate was with the girls from Danielsville and once again Madison County earned a trip south.
Bri Morgan led Madison County with three hits followed by two from Kristen Crumley and Mallory Rogers. Rogers finished the tournament with seven total hits and a home run. Kacie James and Morgan followed with six hits in the tournament and Morgan also had a home run.
Harris pitched a total of 16 innings, allowed 11 runs on 16 hits and struck out 15 total batters in the tournament.
Madison County 19 Macon 0
Madison County opened state tournament play at home Saturday defeating Macon 19-0 in a run-ruled game. Harris was the starting pitcher for Madison County and worked the first two innings, allowing just one hit while striking out six. She contributed at the plate also by delivering a grand slam home run just inside the foul pole beyond the left field fence in a nine-run third inning. Crumley pitched the final three innings of the run-ruled game. Crumley struck out one batter and also allowed just one hit.
Madison County collected two hits each from Rogers, James and Wade and posted runs in each inning except the fourth.
Leadoff batter James got things going right away by reaching on an error and later scoring on a ground out by Morgan. Madison County went on to retire nine straight batters before surrendering Macon’s second hit of the game that came with two outs in the fourth inning.
Madison County pulled ahead 7-0 after two innings of play. Eleven batters visited the plate an inning that saw James and Morgan drive in two runs each. Crumley reached on a fielder’s choice and scored on a Macon error. A throwing error by Macon off the bat of James allowed both Rogers and Morgan Pruitt to score and James ended up touching home on Macon’s third error this time on a misplayed fly ball to left off the bat of Bri Morgan. Morgan would later score on a wild pitch.
Coach Rodney Rogers’ girls put the game on ice in a nine run third inning aided by Harris’ grand slam. Madison County sent fourteen batters to the plate in the inning. Harris’ slam followed a two run double by Kacie James. James, Casie Wade, and Bri Morgan all enjoyed a free ride home on Harris’ home run increasing the lead to 13-0. Kelsie Palmer was then hit by a pitch and both Crumley and Lindsey Ayers walked to load the bases. A walk to Taylor Freeman forced home Palmer and a wild pitch allowed Crumley to score. Ayers closed the scoring by touching home on a fielder’s choice.
Madison County added three more runs in the fifth inning just for good measure. Kirsten Casper led off the frame beating out a bunt and ended up scoring on a second double by James. Wade then drove home James with a double and Wade closed the scoring by crossing home on a throwing error.
Madison County 13 Northern of Columbus 10
The win over Macon advanced Madison County to round two in the winner’s bracket where they faced Northern of Columbus on Sunday. Madison County was in control early after scoring four runs in the first and second innings but Northern came to life by taking advantage of nine Madison County errors to gain a late 9-8 lead. The Northern rally woke up the Madison County girls and the momentum quickly switched after Madison scored five runs in the sixth frame and held on for a 13-10 win to put them in the championship round.
Harris was the winning pitcher, working the complete game and allowing 10 runs on 10 hits while striking out one batter. James led the Madison County offense with four hits on the day followed by three hits from Mallory Rogers with a home run added and two hits each from Casie Wade, Kristen Crumley and Bri Morgan. Morgan also added a home run early.
Madison County wasted little time denting the scoreboard early with four runs in their first at bat. James led off the game reaching on a single and came home for the first run of the game on a triple from Wade, who later scored after Kelsie Palmer connected on a base hit giving Madison at 2-0 lead. Mallory Rogers then doubled home Palmer and Morgan. Madison County padded their lead to 8-0 in the second inning after Bri Morgan bombed a two run home run over the left field fence and Mallory Rogers cleared the centerfield fence for a two run shot later in the inning. That would be all the scoring Madison County would muster until late in the game. The Northern girls came to life scoring four runs in the top of the third, aided by two Madison errors, to cut the lead in half. Northern added three runs in the top of the fourth inning to close the lead to 8-7 and had the tying run on third but failed to push the runner home. Another Madison County error in the fifth inning allowed Northern to score twice to take their first lead of the game at 9-8. Madison County then made an attempt to tie the game in the home half of the frame after James singled and worked her way to third base later in the inning. With one out, Harris flied out to left field and James was cut down at the plate trying to score on the fly out.
Northern added a final run in the sixth inning on a leadoff home run. The long ball for Northern seemed to be enough to seal the win, but Madison County rallied with five runs in the bottom of the inning. Taylor Freeman singled home a run and Casper drove in a run on a fielder’s choice tying the game at 10-10. James was at it again connecting on another single driving home Rogers for the go ahead run. Wade drove home James with a fielder’s choice and Wade ended up closing the scoring by crossing home on a throwing error. Harris then buckled down to retire three of the four batters faced in the final inning to put the win on ice.