ON THE MARK
D. MARK MITCHELL
Opelika High School and Opelika Middle School athletics are finished for the 2021-22 school year. The two schools will turn their attention to the end of school and preparing for fall sports. Football, volleyball, cross country and cheerleading will be the first to begin practice.
All athletic teams will have two weeks of workouts this summer. Some teams will participate in camps, 7-on-7 competitions and practice games starting in June.
The Opelika Softball team (20-17-1, includes two wins over Smiths Station High School junior varsity) finished the season strong. The Lady Bulldogs won the area regular season title, won the postseason area tournament and finished third at the South Regional in Gulf Shores.
OHS went on a run late in the season, thanks in part to a loaded junior class. The Lady Dogs played just two seniors, nine juniors and a few sophomores this season. Opelika finished the last 12 games with nine wins and three losses, including two losses in the regionals.
Opelika won three straight games in the area tournament, beating Russell County (17-5), Valley (3-2) and Eufaula (14-1) in the championship game. OHS advanced to the regionals in Gulf Shores, hoping to finish in the top two in order to compete in the Class 6A State Tournament.
Opelika opened the South Regional with a 10-0 mercy rule game in six innings. MaKay Yountz led the girls in the circle, allowing one hit, no runs and striking out 13 Yellow Jacket players. Offensively, Katie Harrelson recorded two hits and two RBI, Nya Thomas, KD Lee, Sania Stringer and Jancyn Thompson recorded one hit apiece.
In game two, Robertsdale beat OHS 18-1 in a six-inning mercy rule game. The Lasdy Bears recorded 14-hits and made no errors, while the Dogs had fivehits and made two errors.. Lee, Yountz, Jones and Lyles recorded singles, while Stringer added a triple.
Facing elimination, Opelika slipped by area foe Eufaula, 12-9. This was the fifth game between the two are foes. The game was tied 8-8, going in the fifth inning. The Lady Bulldogs scored two runs in the fifth and sixth inning to win 12-9. OHS used two pitchers in the win; Stringer pitched five innings and Yountz pitched the final two innings to combine for the win. The Dogs erupted for 12-hits, three hits from Harrelson, two hits apiece from: Thomas, Lee and Yountz. Thompson, Long and Jones added singles.
Opelika needed two wins to play in the elite eight and a have chance to win the 6A State Championship. Opelika’s season came to an end after Saraland beat the girls, 15-2. The Lady Spartans recorded 15 hits and scored at least one run in every inning, including three runs in the second inning and four runs in the fifth inning.
Opelika managed two runs on three hits, and made four errors. Thomas, Lee and Yountz recorded one hit apiece.
The OHS softball team will open next season with two brand new turf fields at West Ridge Park and 10 returning players from this year’s team. The future is bright for Opelika softball.
The Opelika football team is winding down spring practice. Head Coach Eric Speakman will divide the players into two teams and scrimmage at Bulldog Stadium on Friday night at 6 p.m. The controlled scrimmage will be open to the public.
DIXIE YOUTH ALL-STARS COMING
Opelika Dixie Youth will be naming the All-star teams in the coming days. I will keep you posted on teams and tournaments in the coming week.
D. Mark Mitchell is the sports director at iHeartMedia, host of “On the Mark” Fox Sports the Game 910-1310, co-chair of the Auburn-Opelika Sports Council, chairman of the Super 7 and Dixie Boys Baseball state director.