“We saw some good pitching there,” Ervin said of the tournament. “All three teams we played had superb pitching.”
In the win over Locust Fork, the Tigers scored the only run of the contest in the home half of the second inning. Kiara Akles tripled into the gap in right centerfield. Kristen Leggett, running for Akles, scored on a Locust Fork throwing error. Akles’ triple was Cleburne County’s only hit. She was the winning pitcher as well, recording five strikeouts while allowing two hits and no walks.
In the Tigers’ second game Friday, Tori Davis of tournament champion Cherokee County threw a no-hitter. Davis had three shutouts as the Warriors went 3-0.
“She pitched probably the best game I’ve ever seen her pitch,” Ervin said of Davis.
“We put the ball in play some but their infield’s solid. They had a few kids make some plays on us,” he added.
Against Alexandria, the Tigers had nine hits but could not score.
“The kid from Alexandria threw well. We hit the ball pretty good against Alexandria, just had some misfires that kind of made things look a little different than what it really was,” Ervin said.
Taylor Estes, Hannah Gossage and Madison Jones each went 2-for-3 against the Valley Cubs. Jones had a triple and Gossage doubled. Akles, Bailey Beam and Toni Epps each had a single.
“When a good program like Alexandria gets up on you, it’s difficult to climb that mountain but our kids played hard, they really did,” Ervin noted.
Estes, a senior, pitched against the Cubs.
“She pitched probably one of her best games of the year. She hit the ball well, too. If you’re going out as a senior that’s the way to go out, going 2-for-3 and pitching probably one of the better games you’ve pitched,” Ervin said.
Ervin expects this season’s return to the regional tournament will pay dividends for many years.
“I think that’s something they’ll want to do for the future. Maybe we can get over that hump and take them to Montgomery (for the state tournament). I think we can,” Ervin predicted. “With the players we have returning plus some that are going to move up from junior varsity, it’s going to give us a chance to do that. I’m real excited about where we are in the future in softball.”