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Beauregard softball returns after spring break

By Wil Crews
sportscrews@opelikaobserver.com

The Beauregard Varsity Girls’ softball team returned to action this week.

“We’re going to try to ease everybody back into it,” said head coach Scott Meadows.

Winless in area play (0-2) and with an overall record of 8-11, the Hornets need to build momentum through the final 8-game stretch of the regular season.

Before their week-long hiatus, Beauregard suffered two narrow loses, a 4-2 defeat at the hands of Beulah, and a 4-3 extra-inning nail bitter against Smiths Station.

The Hornets were without three starters against Smiths, perhaps contributing to their struggles, but Meadows said his younger girls stepped up – as they have been doing all season.

However, it was junior Raley Thorn who made the biggest impact against the Panthers. Having just returned from an ACL injury, Thorn was on the mound for the Hornets against Smiths, pitching well before being taken out in extra innings.

“She kept them off balance all night and threw a great game,” Meadows said.

Madison Macdonald came in to relieve Thorn. And with ITB (International Tie Breaker) rules giving Smiths a starting runner on second base for extra innings, it took just one stolen base and a hit to bring the run home and send Beauregard packing.

“We didn’t get it done and they did,” Meadows said. “Those games were good games we just need to hit a little bit better.”

Despite the loses, the on-field play is the least of Meadows’s worries. 

“Our team chemistry is not where it needs to be,” he said.

Meadows, his staff and all the players had a lengthy meeting before the girls went on spring break last Friday. The goal was to straighten out any off-field problems that seem to be lingering around the bunch.

“I don’t know what it is,” Meadows said. “But, we’re hoping with that meeting we had last Friday … we gave them the whole week off …  you know, hopefully getting away from each other, giving them some rest, things will improve.”

Now that the girls have returned, Meadows is hoping his team can turn a new leaf during the home-stretch of this season.

To do so, the Hornets will need to lean on some of their leaders, namely juniors Kat Henson and Madison Champion, freshman Katie Wilkerson and senior Madison Macdonald.

Henson is batting .450 with a .615 on-base and .750 slugging percentages. Adding to her stellar play, the first basemen has committed only one error all season.

Champion hits leadoff for the Hornets, her .346 batting average and .460 on-base percentage say she’s doing her part. The numbers never lie.

Then there’s Wilkerson, a shortstop/third baseman who plays beyond her years with a .370 batting average and a .500 on-base percentage.

“If I can get her to cut down on her strikeouts a little bit … she’s going to be really good down the road for sure,” Meadows said.

Madison Macdonald is Beauregard’s ace on the mound. The senior has pitched 64.1 innings, recording 86 strikeouts. That’s 1.34 strikeouts per innings if anyone is counting.

The Hornets played an area game against Brew Tech, a team that is ranked No. 3 in Alabama 5A softball and beat them 3-2 in their first matchup, on Wednesday.

“Brew Tech, they’re good,” Meadows said. “But last time we played them, we should have won. We made two routine errors that should have been easy outs and if we make those two plays we win the game.”

Meadows said he planned to throw a couple pitchers against the Rams – not Macdonald –  because he doesn’t know “if it’s good to throw your No. 1 against an area opponent twice before the area tournament.”

The results from the game were not available at press time.

Going forward, the Hornets still have two area games against area foe Tallassee. It’s a good chance to see where the Hornets really are. The Tigers, ranked No. 2 in Alabama 5A softball, pose a strong challenge, but if Beauregard comes out on top, like Meadows knows they can, the Hornets just might be able to rally for a strong end-of-season push.  

“It’s going to be tough, but if we play to our capability and get out bats going, we can play with them,” Meadows said.

The Hornets will be in action again this weekend in a tournament in Opelika which features eight teams from across the state. It’s a chance for the Hornets to play with some teams not in their area or class. However, it’s also a chance – like every game hereafter – to bring the team closer together. That is Meadows’s biggest focus right now.

“If we can get them to buy in, then a good bit of it will take care of itself,” he said. “I’ve told them a thousand times, ‘I’m alright getting beat by somebody, but I’m not alright with not playing to our capabilities and not being team-oriented.’ The team has to come first, and I don’t know no other way.”

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