The second, though, was a completely different story.
Alexandria came from behind late to earn the Calhoun County softball tournament championship in a character-exhibiting 4-2 victory.
“We needed that,” said Alexandria pitcher Bree Blevins of the close game.
Alexandria, ranked No. 1 in the Alabama Sports Writers Association Class 4A poll, began the tournament like it owned Oxford Lake and everybody there. In the Lady Cubs’ first three tournament games, they won by a combined score of 29-1, including a 9-1 defeat of the third-seeded Lady Yellow Jackets to start the final day of the three-day event.
Blevins was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player as Alexandria claimed back-to-back county titles. She pitched all seven innings against Oxford, giving up five hits and two runs while striking out three to help lift Alexandria to victory and avoid the “if” game rematch with the Class 6A Lady Yellow Jackets.
Alexandria (35-5) tied the game at one on the first of two homers from second baseman Haley Henry crushed a Carlie Sargent pitch to deep right center.
The solo shot was one of just two hits the Valley Cubs could muster against Sargent, a fiery lefty, in the first five innings. The Lady Yellow Jackets took a 2-1 lead in the fourth when Defensive MVP Jenna Nolan, Friday night’s hero in Oxford’s 4-2 win against No. 2 White Plains, had an RBI single that scored Lexi Higgins.
Henry led off the sixth inning and muscled what appeared to be a check-swing over the fence in right center field to tie the game back up at two.
“I knew I had to pick things up,” Henry, the Offensive Most Valuable Player, said. “I did what I had to do and we got the win. It was a fastball out. I turned on that first one and the second one I went with it.
“I think when we got behind we knew we head to step it up. I know that we’ve got a team now because we pulled together and came through.”
Morgan Hopkins singled and Haley Muncher brought her in with a two-run home run to make the score 4-2 to close out the inning.
“It’s a different senior every time it seems,” Alexandria coach Brian Hess said.
“Maybe one game it’s Sara Borders or another senior. Today it was Halee Henry and Haley Muncher. I couldn’t ask for any better seniors than the ones we have.”
Sargent finished with three strikeouts in six innings of work while giving up four runs on seven hits as the Lady Yellow Jackets dropped to 21-13-1 on the season.
Sargent and Nolan were both 2-for-4.
“Alexandria’s got a good team, one through nine can hit the ball,” Oxford coach Wendy McKibbin said. “I was very proud of how hard we pitched today.”
Borders double and Hopkins added a pair of singles for the Valley Cubs.
“It was good to see them respond,” Hess said. “It shows what their character is about. We’ve been waiting to see what kind of character they had and they revealed it today.”
Nick Birdsong covers prep sports for The Star. He can be reached at 256-235-3575. Follow him on Twitter @birds_word.