November 18 was a day Amber Parker and Kiara Akles will remember for the rest of their lives. Teammates on the Cleburne County High School softball team, the seniors held a joint scholarship signing ceremony at the school library that morning.
Basketball season opens for the Cleburne County girls Saturday around 4:30 p.m. when this year’s Tigers play White Plains in the opening round of the Champions Sports Academy Thanksgiving Classic. The tournament, played at the Champions’ facility in Alexandria, continues Monday and concludes Tuesday. All eight teams are guaranteed three games. Cleburne County will play either Ohatchee or Westbrook Christian Monday, depending on who wins and who loses Saturday. If the Tigers down White Plains, they will play Monday at 6 p.m.
Alex Lee had the kind of game for the Danville Braves Tuesday night that most baseball players never experience. The former Cleburne County High, Central Alabama and Samford standout was 4-for-4 with a walk in Danville’s 10-8 win over the Pulaski Yankees. Playing in Danville’s spacious Legion Field, Lee hit two home runs, drove in five runs and scored three times.
They’re no longer teammates but former Cleburne County High School baseball standouts Alex Lee and Matt Norton continue to earn recognition for their performances at their current schools.
As it turned out, the difference between winning the Class 2A, Area 10 softball tournament and being Area 10 runner-up was enormous at the North Central Regional in Tuscaloosa.
With their postseason lives at stake, Cleburne County’s baseball Tigers won the second and third games of their best-of-three series against Cherokee County in Centre Friday and Saturday. The Tigers advanced to the quarterfinal round of the Class 4A playoffs for the third time in four years and will travel to Stevenson Friday to take on the North Jackson Chiefs. Friday’s doubleheader will start at 5 p.m. If a third game is necessary, it will be played Saturday at 2 p.m.
Cleburne County faces a familiar opponent in its Class 4A baseball opening-round playoff series Friday. For the second year, the Tigers start the playoffs against the Hokes Bluff Eagles. The major difference this year is home-field advantage for Cleburne County. The Tigers won in three games in 2015.
Cleburne County downed White Plains 6-4 Tuesday to remain undefeated in Class 4A, Area 11 baseball action. The Tigers are now alone atop the Area 11 standings with a 3-0 area record. White Plains, 2-1 in Area 11, comes to Heflin today to complete the home-and-home series.
The Cherokee Invitational softball tournament was supposed to be a two-day event last weekend. Wet grounds forced half the 16 teams, including the Cleburne County Tigers, to play all their games in the double-elimination bracket on Saturday, instead of half on Friday and half Saturday. The change of plans didn’t faze the Tigers in the least. They swept four consecutive games to capture the tournament championship.
The Cleburne County baseball Tigers travel to Munford Thursday for a doubleheader beginning at 4:30 p.m. Those games will let coach Vaughn Lee set his pitching rotation for next week’s Class 4A, Area 11 series against Jacksonville.