Sand Rock too much for Hornets

Game one: Locust Fork v Sand Rock, L 2-4

Fresh off their fifth straight area title, the Locust Fork Hornets traveled to Montgomery for the 2A East Region Tournament last Thursday. They opened up against the Sand Rock Wildcats, who came out on top 4-2.

The Hornets struck first, scoring one run in their first at bat on Savannah Neely’s home run. But the Wildcats scored two runs in the second and one run in the fourth and fifth innings to go up 4-1. Still down by three in their last at bat, Jenna Adams singled on a line drive to center field to put a runner on base. Dianna Boatright, who came in as a courtesy runner for J. Adams, advanced to third on a line drive to center field off the bat of Emma Adams. Cori Barwick drove her home for the final run of the night.

Hannah Payne pitched a full game and allowed four runs on seven hits while striking out six. The Hornets scattered six hits throughout the game. Payne, with two hits, led the Hornets at the plate, while Neely finished with one run on one hit and one home run. Ava Hancock, J. Adams, and E. Adams finished with one hit apiece. Game two: Locust Fork v Horseshoe Bend, W 11-0

Locust Fork was solid in the field and at the plate in game two’s 10-0 win over Horseshoe Bend. Payne pitched the shut out and the Hornets racked up 14 hits in five innings. Through five innings, Payne gave up four hits and zero runs, striking out eight to earn the win.

After a scoreless first inning, E. Adams drove in Hancock for the Hornets’ first run of the game in the bottom of the second. In the bottom of the third, Miranda Freeman, Payne, and Alivia Watkins led off with singles to load the bases for Neely who drove in Freeman. Hancock drove in Payne and Watkins on a grounder to left field to give the Hornets a 4-0 lead.

Cori Barwick led off the bottom of the fourth, reaching first after getting beaned by the pitcher. Freeman, Payne, and Watkins followed with three straight singles with Barwick scoring on Watkins’ hit. After four, the Hornets led 5-0.

With two outs in the bottom of the fifth, Payne drove in E. Adams and Maddie Busenlehner while Neely scored Payne and Watkins on a line-drive double to left field. Neely and Calvert scored the final two runs on Hancock’s line drive.

Both Payne and Hancock were 3-for-4 at the plate with Hancock driving in four runs and Payne driving in two. Neely, E. Adams, Watkins, and Freeman each collected two hits.

Game three: Locust Fork v Randolph County, W 5-2

Next for the Hornets was Randolph County, who got on the board first scoring one run in the bottom of the second. Locust Fork then added one run in the third, fourth, and fifth innings to go up 3-1. Randolph County made it a one-run game in the bottom of the sixth, but the Hornets scored twice in the seventh and held the Tigers scoreless in their last at bat for the 5-2 win.

Payne pitched her third complete game giving up two runs on four hits, striking out six. The Hornets racked up 14 hits in the game with Neely and J. Adams going a perfect 3-for-3 at the plate. One of Neely’s three was a triple and J. Adams recorded a double. Payne finished with two hits while Calvert, Busenlehner, Hancock, Boatright, E. Adams, and Barwick each finished with one hit. Game four: Locust Fork v Cleveland, W 4-2

With the stakes high, these two county rivals battled until the final out. With their 4-2 win, the Hornets’ hopes of reaching state were still alive while the loss was the end of the road for the Panthers.

Payne allowed just two runs and three hits in seven innings, striking out six. The Hornets finished with nine hits. Payne, Hancock, and Watkins were 2-for-4 to lead Locust Fork at the plate. Neely, J. Adams, and E. Adams each finished with one hit.

Game five: Locust Fork v Sand Rock, L 4-9

The Hornets met the Sand Rock Wildcats again in the final game of the 2A East Region tournament with the winner moving on to state and the loser heading home. The outcome of the rematch was the same as the first as Sand Rock went on to win 9-4.

Locust Fork struggled at the plate finishing with five hits. Neely was 2-for-4 with a double, an RBI, and a run while Freeman was 2-for-2 with a triple and a run. E. Adams collected the fifth Hornet hit and Payne scored the other two Hornet runs.

Payne pitched her fifth complete game. Through six innings, she gave up nine runs on five hits, striking out four.

The Hornets finish their 2021 season as area champions with 23 wins and six losses.