There was no surprise when Wetumpka and Stanhope Elmore needed a third and final game in the Class 6A Area 5 softball tournament to determine the area championship. The two teams split their regular season meetings and split the first two games of the area tournament but Wetumpka came out on top in the final battle, knocking off the Mustangs 12-1.
“We really haven’t had a great year but I think these girls are starting to believe in themselves for the first time,” Wetumpka coach Jimmy Reeves said. “We’re starting to play together and we might have a chance at something big, you never know.”
Wetumpka (19-14) fell behind in the second inning but quickly tied the game on an RBI double from Kailyn David. The Indians took the lead for good with a five-run frame in the third which was capped by David with an RBI single.
“She hadn’t played a lot all year due to injuries,” Reeves said of David. “She caught both games today and went 3-for-3 in the second game. She’s starting to come around and she came up in the time we needed her.”
Ashtyn Pannell added two hits and four RBIs for Wetumpka but no other player had more than one hit in the game. Most of the damage came due to fielding errors by Stanhope.
The Mustangs made eight errors in the game and allowed seven unearned runs. Stanhope allowed 21 unearned runs across the three tournament games against Wetumpka.
“That’s something that just started this tournament,” Stanhope coach Virginia Barber said. “I think it’s a mental thing for us and we’ve been focusing on that but it didn’t work tonight.”
Wetumpka got some help for its offense but it may not have been needed with Mya Holt in the circle. The Mustangs got just three baserunners against Holt and scored one run across five innings.
“Wetumpka took that game away and deserved to win,” Barber said. “We didn’t play our best game. It obviously hurts but I don’t like losing to anyone, especially with the way we played tonight.”
In the first meeting of the tournament, Maddie Elmore had three RBIs and Wetumpka jumped out to an early lead before holding off a late Stanhope rally to win 12–10 on Monday night. After the Mustangs defeated Selma in the consolation bracket, the two teams met again with spots in next week’s regional tournament already secured.
With Wetumpka needing just one win to secure the area title, Stanhope jumped out to an early lead on an RBI single by Kelbi Johnson in the second inning. There were four lead changes in the game but Stanhope took over with five two-out runs in the sixth inning, including a two-run double by Rikki McAdams to take the lead for good.
Wetumpka threatened to come back in the final two innings, scoring two runs and having two on with two outs in the seventh. Neci King wrapped up the complete-game win by getting Stanhope to pop out to the shortstop to force the third game.
“We played a good first game but we had one bad inning that cost us,” Reeves said. “I was worried about coming out flat in the second game but these picked themselves up off the dirt and I couldn’t be prouder of them.”
Both teams advance to play in next week’s 6A East Central regional in Oxford with play beginning Thursday.