By Josh Bean
Oxford, AL -The Orange Beach High School Makos made some noise in their first trip to the AHSAA State Softball Championships state tournament.
Orange Beach – a school that opened less than a year ago as the newest high school in Baldwin County –swept past traditional powers Spring Garden, Sumiton Christian and finally defeated reigning Class 2A champ G.W. Long 7-1 in Wednesday’s winners’ bracket final at Choccolocco Park in the Class 2A state softball tournament.
Orange Beach (34-9), led by Coach Shane Alexander, moves into the 2A championship round, set for Thursday at 5 p.m., at Choccolocco Park’s softball stadium.
Justine Henderson, an eighth grader, threw a five-hitter in the 7-1 victory over G.W. Long, while Teagan Revette and Ava Hodo added two hits apiece. The Rebels (30-13) won the 2A state title in 2018 and 2019. The 2020 AHSAA spring playoffs were cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In other Class 2A games played Wednesday:
MARS HILL BIBLE 1, SUMITON CHRISTIAN 0: Riley Vaughn threw a complete-game shutout and struck out eight to keep the Panthers alive. Mars Hill remains in the elimination bracket and must win four games Thursday to win the state title. Sumiton Christian’s season ends with a 42-16 record.
PISGAH 10, LAMAR COUNTY 5: Pisgah (35-11) survived to advance to Thursday’s action in the elimination bracket. Lamar County’s season ends. The Eagles also beat Spring Garden (28-11) in 11 innings 1-0 as HannahDuncan scored on Briley Worley’s hit for the game’s only run. Pisgah senior and Duke signee Kennedy Barron outdueled Spring Garden’s Abbey Steward. Spring Garden’s season ends with a 26-12 record.
ORANGE BEACH 6, SUMITON CHRISTIAN 4: Justine Henderson struck out just two, but picked up the complete-game win outdueling Sumiton Christian’sBailie Hall, who struck out five.
G.W. LONG 11, LAMAR COUNTY 1: The Rebels won by the 10-run, mercy rule in five innings.
MARS HILL BIBLE 6, SAND ROCK 2: The Panthers stayed alive, while Sand Rock’s season ends with a 34-22-1 record.
G.W. LONG 5, SAND ROCK 1: G.W. Long’s Makenna Long hit an inside-the-park homer in the first inning and finished 3-for-4 with three RBIs. Ally Whitehead and Emmaline Hughes added two hits apiece. Morgan Ferguson earned the win by striking out 13 and allowing just three hits. Sand Rock’s Lilly Clanton drove in the team’s lone run.
SUMITON CHRISTIAN 9, PISGAH 8: Sumiton Christian scored seven runs in the seventh inning with Gracie Ashley’s two-out double scoring Izzy Ingle with the winning run.Pisgah’s Lila Kate Wheeler and Briley Worley had RBI doubles, while Kennedy Barron adds an RBI triple. Pisgah scored five runs in the fifth inning
ORANGE BEACH 3, SPRING GARDEN 1: Orange Beach pitcher Justin Henderson controlled the Panthers’ lineup for the win. The Makos improved to 32-9, while Spring Garden fell to 28-10.
LAMAR COUNTY 5, MARS HILL BIBLE 4 (8 innings): Lamar County’s Cammie Rogers delivered a bases-loaded triple in the seventh and scored on a wild pitch to force extra innings. Sydnee Vann singled home Karlie Baughn with the winning run in the eighth inning.