And, most importantly, both Saks and White Plains know the winner of this morning’s game will get a berth in the Class 3A state softball tournament.
The meeting between White Plains and Saks comes after both took care of business Friday, winning their first two games in the South Central Regional in Troy.
“It’s like this every year. It seems like we play them more than anyone on our schedule and more than anyone ever,” White Plains coach Rachel Ford said. “I just know it’s a big rivalry and both teams are going to want to win. Both teams have been successful, but it’s always been close.
“We know what they’re capable of.”
Both came out with power, with sixth-ranked White Plains defeating third-ranked Glencoe 8-6 after Sophie Taylor hit two home runs and Carley Wood hit a grand slam. In seventh-ranked Saks’ first game, a 12-2 mercy-rule win over Susan Moore, Taylor West came on the scene with a bang.
The senior pitcher went 3-for-4 with three home runs, including two grand slams, and racked up 11 RBIs. The three consecutive home runs, grand slams and RBI total tied four state records for the regular or postseason.
“I guess I was just feeling it. They said they guessed I ate my Wheaties this morning,” West said. “I’ve hit two home runs in a game, but not two grand slams and a home run.”
But, that was Friday, and as White Plains pitcher Anna Snider pointed out after defeating Leeds, games in the past don’t matter anymore.
In the past, however, White Plains has had Saks’ number. White Plains has won four of the five meetings this season, including two in the Area 8 tournament, and also won in the North Central Regional championship game last year. Granted, Saks won the Class 3A state championship.
“We’ve played them a lot and they’re a very good team. Taylor’s a great pitcher,” Snider said. “We can’t overlook them, but they’re here at regionals just like everybody else. If we have to beat them to advance then that’s just what we have to do.”
For either team to advance they’ll have to be able to score on one of the best pitchers in not only Calhoun County but also the South Central Regional tournament.
“I expect it to be really close if anything,” Saks coach Michelle Lively said. “In my eyes they’re the best two pitchers in the state, not just the county. I know Anna has worked her butt off for her and I know how hard Taylor has worked for it.”
In the past, at least this season, Saks has been hurt with errors, but, again, that’s the past. This morning’s game will be decided within the lines. Both teams will be moving on, but one will go to Montgomery and the other will go to the elimination bracket.
“Every time we’ve lost to them has been because of errors,” West said. “If we play our game we should win.”
Fayetteville 16, Faith Christian 0, four innings — Fayetteville jumped all over Faith early Friday morning, scoring five runs in the first inning and adding seven in the third.
Faith wasn’t able to get much going, aside from a hit from Madelyn Adams and Peyton Camp reaching on an error. Camp reached third before the inning ended.
Ragland 21, Talladega County Central 6, four innings — Ragland shrugged off a rough start and scored runs in each inning to easily cruise past Talladega County Central.
After TC scored four runs to start the game, the Purple Devils tied the game in the bottom of the first and exploded for eight runs in the second and six in the third behind the hitting of Makenley Oliver, who had two hits.
While Ragland received 18 walks, with eight batters being walked at least once, Carley Echols, Shyann Hazelwood, Callie Kay and Payton Bearden all recorded a hit.
Talladega County Central was led by Curteria Collins and Manuella Curry, who had a hit each. The Lady Tigers scored a run in the second and third innings, as well.
Prattville Christian 8, Randolph County 1 — Randolph County had trouble hitting Prattville Christian pitcher Morgan Burbage Friday morning.
Hannah Prestridge singled twice and in the fifth inning was singled in by Valerie Watkins to score the Lady Tigers only run. Chasity Marable also singled.
Prattville Christian got out to a large lead after scoring two in the first inning and four in the third.
White Plains 8, Glencoe 6 — The Lady Wildcats flexed in their muscles Friday morning with Taylor hitting two solo home runs and Wood adding a gram slam.
After Jamie McGuire put Glencoe on the board in the top of the first with a lead-off homer, Taylor followed suit in the bottom half and Wood put her word in as well, totaling five runs for the Lady Wildcats.
White Plains added two in the second and one in the fourth before Glencoe scored five runs in the fifth and sixth innings. However, pitcher Anna Snider was able to hold off the threat while recording three hits at the plate. Morgan Cobb had three hits.
Saks 12, Susan Moore 2, five innings — West did it all.
The senior allowed two runs on four hits, striking out 10 Susan Moore batters on the mound and at the plate went hit three home runs, including two ground slams and a 3-run shot. Both home run totals, along with 11 RBI, tied state records.
However, Saks trailed until the third inning when West’s first grand slam came. The Lady Wildcats added four runs in the fifth and sixth behind West’s hitting. But she wasn’t alone.
Tiffany Springer went 4-for-4 in the lead-off spot while Kelly Kilgore and Daja Johnson each had multi-hit games.
Ragland 14, Billingsley 1, five innings — The Purple Devils took off their gloves in the second round and mercy ruled Billingsley Friday morning.
Ragland opened the game with four runs in the first and one in the second. After Billingsley scored a run on Oliver, who allowed only three hits in the game, the Purple Devils responded with nine runs in the bottom of the third.
Echols, Kay and Lexi Goodwin each had a multi-hit game. Everyone in the lineup scored at least once for Ragland. The Purple Devils will play Fayetteville at 8 a.m. today.
Saks 10, Central-Coosa 0, five innings — West threw a no hitter and Saks took advantage of errors by Central-Coosa to breeze through the second round.
The Lady Wildcats blew the game open in the fourth inning with four runs to take a 6-0 lead. Saks added four more in the bottom of the fifth to win it after five.
Springer had two hits and two runs while Kilgore, Johnson and Daisy Cornejo each had two hits.
White Plains 4, Leeds 1 — The Lady Wildcats went from not having a base runner in the first four innings to putting consecutive hits together in the sixth.
Mikayla Owen was scored in the fifth inning on a sacrifice fly by Lauren Mueller. White Plains got consecutive hits from Taylor, Cobb and Snider to score two runs. Amber Greenwood drove Snider home.
Snider allowed three hits on the mound while striking out six Leeds batters. The Green Wave attempted a small comeback in the seventh inning. After allowing a run off a lead-off double, Snider shut the door on Leeds to advance to today’s winners’ bracket championship.
Faith Christian 16, Autaugaville 1, four innings — Alexis Rogers on the mound was enough to win Friday morning, but her teammates provided plenty of offense to help.
The junior pitcher only allowed one run and three base runners against Autaugaville. In response, all but one of her teammates scored twice while batting.
The win keeps Faith alive in the tournament. The Lady Lions will play Billingsley today at 8 a.m.
Luverne 5, Randolph County 1 — Randolph County’s woes at the plate continued into the elimination bracket Friday afternoon. The Lady Tigers were only able to put together one run—for the second time—and were eliminated from the South Central Regional.
Luverne got on the scoreboard in the third inning with three runs and added two more in the fifth. Randolph County scored in the seventh innings when Marable scored after one of her three hits.
Valerie Watkins, Mollie Heard and Joie Smith also singled. Lauren Cofield only allowed three hits on the mound for Randolph County.
Sports Writer Brandon Miller: 256-235-3575. On Twitter @bmiller_star.