The Scottsboro softball team did not get the finish that it hoped for, but head coach Kevin Thompson assured them it was an outcome they could be proud of.
The No. 3-ranked Wildcats finished fourth in the AHSAA’s Class 5A State Tournament after posting a 2-2 record in the tournament Wednesday and Thursday at Choccolocco Park in Oxford.
Despite a coaching change and having five new starters in the lineup, Scottsboro (38-12-2) recorded the fourth most wins in single-season in program history while reaching the state tournament for the first time in six years.
“Couldn’t ask for more out of these girls,” Thompson said. “We’ve had a great year. They laid it all on the line, just came up a little short. We wanted to finish the year at the state tournament, and that’s what we did. Couldn’t be more proud of them. They believed in each other, in the coaching staff, kept working and had a great year. We were one of the four left playing on the last day, so it’s been a great ride.”
Both of Scottsboro’s tournament losses were to No. 2-ranked and eventual state champion Brewbaker Tech, which handed the Wildcats a 5-2 defeat in the opening round Wednesday morning, sending them immediately to the elimination bracket.
Scottsboro rebounded to defeat No. 5 Jasper 2-1 in its first elimination game and then put together one of the program’s most memorable rallies Wednesday night, erasing a 4-0 deficit to No. 4 Moody with a six-run bottom of the sixth inning to win 6-4 and avoid elimination.
“The fight these kids showed just says a lot about them,” Thompson said.
The rematch with Brewbaker Tech Wednesday morning was for a spot in the elimination bracket final, and the game was ruled by pitching and defense — both teams managed just three hits against pitchers Alyssa Smart of Scottsboro and Taniyah Brown of Brewbaker Tech — and clutch at-bats. The Rams scored one run each in the first two innings, but Scottsboro tied the game in the fourth inning. Amya Whitson drew a one-out walk for the Wildcats and went to second base when Emma Cunningham reached on a Brewbaker Tech error after she laid down a sacrifice bunt, and both came in to score when Austin McNeese hit a two-run triple to left-center field. The game stayed tied until the top of the seventh inning, as Brewbaker Tech’s Grace Hunter led off the inning with a double, went to third on a sacrifice bunt and scored on Peyton Garrett’s RBI groundout to give the Rams a 3-2 lead. Scottsboro was retired in order in the bottom of the seventh to end the game.
McNeese finished with one hit and two RBIs for Scottsboro while Cunningham and Brooklyn McGee had one each. Smart closed with five strikeouts in the circle for the Wildcats.
When it was over, Scottsboro gathered around and spoke as a team one final time in 2023 before saying its goodbyes to seniors Cunningham, McGee, Smart, Whitson, Kambrie Doss and Anna Stuart Dawson from this season’s team, and Thompson thanked them for setting “the foundation for the returning players.” Although the Wildcats knew that Thursday was the final day of their season regardless of the outcome, Thompson said he knew saying good bye to the team’s seniors would be difficult.
“Couldn’t be more proud of those seniors,” he said.
Winners Bracket Quarterfinals
Brewbaker Tech 5, Scottsboro 2 — On Tuesday, Scottsboro fell behind 4-0 early on and was unable to rally against the Rams in the opening round of the Class 5A State Softball Tournament.
The Wildcats scored their first run in the bottom of the third inning when Lana Emanuel reached on a Brewbaker Tech error and scored when McNeese reached on an error. Scottsboro added another run in the bottom of the seventh on Doss’ RBI single. Whitson finished with two hits while Doss, Dawson and Shila Wadkins had one each. Dawson recorded seven strikeouts in the circle for the Wildcats.
Elimination Bracket Game
Scottsboro 2, Jasper 1 — Doss’ two-run single coupled with a strong pitching performance from Smart allowed the Wildcats to stay alive in the tournament with the win over Jasper Tuesday afternoon.
With the game scoreless in the bottom of the third inning, Whitson singled and Morgan Perkins was hit by a pitch to put runners on for Scottsboro with one out. Two batters later, Doss singled to center field to plate Whitson and Perkins for a 2-0 Wildcats lead. Jasper cut the Scottsboro lead to 2-1 in the fourth on a solo home run by Missy Odom, the daughter of former Alabama and Tennessee Titan and Cincinnati Bengal defensive lineman Antwan Odom.
Smart closed with seven strikeouts while posting the win in the circle. Doss, Emanuel and Whitson had one hit each for the Wildcats.
Elimination Bracket Game
Scottsboro 6, Moody 4 — The Wildcats rallied from a four-run deficit by scoring six runs in the bottom of the sixth Tuesday night to remain in contention at the state tournament.
Moody scored a run in the top of the first and three in the second to take a 4-0 lead. Scottsboro had just one hit and two baserunners in all through five innings, but Whitson walked and Perkins singled to start the sixth before scoring on McNeese’s two-run double. After Doss’ doubled, McNeese scored on Dawson’s RBI single, and Doss scored to tie the game on McGee’s RBI single while Dawson’s courtesy runner, Jayda Matayo, then went to third base on the play. Matayo then scored the go-ahead run when she beat the throw home after Smart laid down an RBI sacrifice bunt, and Ava Grace Long’s RBI single put the Wildcats up 6-4. Dawson then pitched around a two-out single in the top of the seventh to close out the comeback win for the Wildcats. Dawson finished with five strikeouts.
Welcome to the discussion.
Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.