By Wil Crews
Last weekend, the Beauregard Lady Hornets softball team played a three-game tournament as a final tune up before the area playoffs begin today.
“They know what’s at stake,” head coach Scott Meadows said about his team’s mentality heading into the playoffs. “If we can get them fired up and they show up wanting to play and can relax a little bit – just get out there and turn it loose – we can play with any of them.”
Beauregard lost two-out-of-three games over the weekend, with self-inflicted errors and staunch pitching from the opposition squashing the Hornets.
Beauregard was first defeated by Elmore County (23-10, 6-0), by a score of 14-0. The Hornets were without one of their better hitters, Katie Wilkerson, but the loss “nothing good came out of it,” Meadows said.
Secondly, the hornets played a well-drilled Wetumpka (32-12, 4-0) team and came up just short, losing 6-4. Ace Madison “Mac” McDonald was on the mound for Beauregard, throwing a complete game while allowing eight hits and just four earned runs. The two runs that proved to be difference came on costly errors.
“If you take the errors out we may win the ball game,” Meadows said. “We didn’t really hit it real good, but it was good to see both of those games, we saw two good pitchers and that’s what we are going to see in the area tournament.”
The third game of the weekend was undoubtedly the best for the Hornets as the defeated Saint James 7-4. Saint James jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the first inning, despite “Mac” standing on the mound for the second game in a row. However, she allowed only five hits over the course the game and allowed the Hornet bats to take over. The batting leaders were Madison Champion, who went 1-for-1 with a home run and two runs scored, and senior Mikayla Williams, who went 2-for-3 with two runs scored.
“Hoping she’s fixing to start to heat up a little bit,” Meadows said of Williams.
Another lasting positive that came from the weekend was the emergence of eighth grader Lucy Van. Starting all three games at second base, the young infielder handled 14 of the 15 balls hit her way.
“She may be starting at second,” Meadows said of the Van’s spot in the lineup come playoff time.
Now, Beauregard, the No. 4 seed in the area, play today against the No. 1 seeded Tallassee Tigers. The two teams have met twice before this season with the Tigers prevailing in both competitions.
However, the Hornets have an ace up their sleeve. Tallassee have only seen Beauregard’s best “Mac”, once – something Meadows thinks gives his team a leg up.
“Madison is definitely our go-to on pitching,” Meadows said. “The team just has a different air about them when she’s pitching. As long as she controls those walks, we usually got a chance.”
While Macdonald will be relied on heavily on the mound, junior Cat Henson, who was just named to the AHSAA North-South All-Star team, will be the leader at the plate.
“She’s been our horse at the plate all year,” Meadows said of Henson.
Furthermore, Meadows said he will be looking to the likes of Champion, Williams, Caroline Willis, Wilkerson and Cooper Watson to step up.
“If we can get all those to heat up a little more at the plate and cut them errors out, we can compete with anybody,” he said. “Hopefully they [the team] will be excited because they know two wins sends us to regionals and two losses sends us packing for the year.”