Area play continues today for the Cleburne County softball team. The Tigers host Anniston with the ‘B’ team game set for 5 p.m. and the varsity to follow around 6:30 p.m. Cleburne County defeated Anniston 21-1 on Thursday of last week in Anniston. The Tigers benefited from 14 walks. Madison Jones, Alisa Norton, Shay Houston, Angel Norton and Bailey Beam – running for catcher Kaity Zeiders – each scored three runs. Amber Parker and Kiara Akles added two runs apiece. Kristen Leggett and Hannah Gossage each scored once.
Angel Norton led the Tigers’ hitting with three hits in three official trips to the plate. Alisa Norton had two hits. Leggett tripled. Jones and Akles had a base hit each.
Jones was the winning pitcher. She hurled all three innings, struck out five and allowed just one hit.
Alexandria came to Heflin Tuesday and eventually won 8-4. The Valley Cubs posted three runs in the top of the third inning. Cleburne County got one run back in the home half of the third when Amber Parker walked and came home on a passed ball. Alisa Norton’s double scored Toni Epps with Cleburne County’s second run in the fourth. Alexandria made it 4-2 in the top of the fifth before Gossage scored in the bottom of the fifth to cut the Tigers’ deficit to one run at 4-3.
The Cubs plated four runs in the sixth and still led 8-3 when Cleburne County mounted a rally in the seventh inning. Gossage’s double scored Beam to make it 8-4. With two out later in the inning, Akles came up with the bases full of Tigers.
“When Kiara hit the ball, we thought we were going to tie it with a grand slam,” Cleburne County coach Ron Ervin said. “It dropped right at the fence. The girl had her back to the fence and caught it. The wind was just blowing the wrong direction.”
Akles pitched all seven innings for the Tigers and struck out eight. Jones was 2-for-2 and walked twice. Gossage was 2-for-3. Epps and Beam each had a base hit. Parker coaxed three walks.
The Tigers will play four games in Alexandria’s round-robin tournament this weekend. They open Friday at 7:30 p.m. against Springville. Saturday’s games begin about 10 a.m. and Cleburne County will play Wellborn, Sardis and Springville a second time during the day Saturday.
Cleburne County travels to play Clay Central Monday and White Plains Tuesday. At both sites, the varsity game is scheduled first with 4:30 p.m. as the starting time.