For the third straight season, Appalachian is the 1A Area 11 champion and headed to regionals in Montgomery. Rain delayed the start of the area tournament with game one between Jefferson Christian and Victory Christian pushed to Thursday. Appalachian awaited the winner.
Victory Christian prevailed and kept it close against the Eagles, but Appalachian held them scoreless in their 3-0 win. While the pitching was strong on both sides, Ashley Maddox and Amanda Richelderfer were almost untouchable. Maddox got the start and the win. She allowed just two hits while striking out seven through five innings. Richelderfer closed the game. In two innings, she struck out three and didn’t allow any hits.
Appalachian scored one run in their first at bat to take an early lead. Taylor Woodard reached on an error by the second baseman. An error by the shortstop put Zoe Payne on first, but Woodard was tagged out in the process. Jordan Henderson then reached on an error by the center fielder allowing Payne to score giving the Eagles a 1-0 lead.
In the fourth inning, Payne doubled on a line drive to left field, and Kaylan Martin reached on a line drive to center field. Payne then scored on an error at third making it 2-0. Gracey Gulledge grounded out to the pitcher, but advanced Martin, who went on to score when Sophie Latta hit into an error by the right fielder. With the score 3-0, Woodard hit a triple in the bottom of the fifth, but was left stranded on base. Latta walked in the sixth, but was also left on base.
Appalachian had three hits in the win, Woodard’s triple, Payne’s double, and Martin’s single. With the win, the Eagles waited to face the winner of Victory Christian and Jefferson Christian. The Lions came away with the win setting up a second game with the Eagles.
Pitching for the Eagles was strong again as they shut out the Lions for the second time. The Eagles also finished the game with nine hits and no errors in a decisive 11-0 win.
Ashley Maddox got the win. She allowed just two hits over three innings while striking out five. Sarah Metcalf came in to relieve Maddox and gave up only two hits with two strike outs in two innings. Richelderfer pitched the final inning striking out two and allowing only one hit.
Appalachian got on the board in the bottom of the second. Henderson led off with a walk and landed at third on Gulledge’s bunt single. An error by the shortstop placed Latta on second and scored Henderson and Gulledge making it 2-0.
In the bottom of the third, Woodard walked, Stormy Stidham singled on a bunt, and Zoe Payne hit a fly ball single to left field to score Woodard. Henderson doubled on a hard ground ball to left field scoring Stidham and Payne. Kaylan Martin reached on an error by the second baseman scoring Henderson, and Latta doubled on a fly ball to left field to bring in Martin. At the end of three, the score was 7-0.
Appalachian put the game away with four more in the bottom of the sixth. Woodard reached on an error and scored on a bunt single by Stidham. Payne then walked and Stidham managed to score on a fielding error by the first baseman. Up next was Henderson, who homered on a 2-2 count to give the Eagles an 11-0 lead and seal the Lions’ fate. Henderson led the Eagles hitting 2-for-3 and driving in four runs.
Maddox, Payne, Woodard, Gulledge, and Henderson (MVP) earned spots on the All-Area Tournament team. The Eagles and the Lions both advance to regional play in Montgomery starting today. The Eagles take the field at 1:45 p.m. against Gaylesville.