Alex City 10U All-Stars

Alex City's 10U All-Star softball team earned second place in its area championship Saturday. Team members include, front row, from left, Sam Galvan, Elodie Waller, Henley Bice, Aubrey Chapman; middle row, Zada McDaniel, Kennedy Rape, Zoya Mennifield, Ree Johnson, Cheyenne Fuller; back row, coaches Haley Bice, Erlando Menniefield and Mallory Gaston.

After three straight victories, Alex City’s 10U All-Star softball team suffered a 10-1 loss to Phenix City in its area championship game Saturday afternoon. Despite the loss, Alex City will still advance and have a chance to fight for a state title this weekend in Millbrook.

Alex City started off the day extremely well, earning a 7-4 victory over East Tuscaloosa. Aubrey Chapman finished with four strikeouts and Sam Galvan did her job at leadoff, finishing 2-for-2 at the plate.

In Game 2, Alex City continued to rack up the runs, securing an 11-4 defeat of Millbrook. Ree Johnson, Kennedy Rape and Zoya Mennifield all went 2-for-2 with big hits in the victory. Henley Bice fired three strikeouts.

The pair of wins earned AC the No. 1 seed heading into bracket playing and gave it a spot directly in the semifinals against East Tuscaloosa. This proved to be a much closer outing than the first one with Alex City just barely edging a 7-6 win.

“We were down 6-0 heading into the bottom of the third inning to a team that we knew we could beat,” Alex City 10U coach Mallory Gaston said. “I have this thing that I like to ask the girls when I know they are getting down on themselves where I ask, ‘Do you want this?’ with their response being ‘Yes’ each time. We were pumped headed into our at bat.” 

Bice got things started for Alex City with a leadoff hit then she came around to score on a passed ball. Aubrey Chapman and Cheyenne Fuller both had big hits to put themselves in scoring position.

“Fuller really had a breakout tournament at the plate this weekend,” Gaston said.

With two straight strikeouts, Elodie Waller came up to bat and was absolutely clutch. She hit a line drive down the right-field line that resulted in an inside-the-park home run that scored three runs and cut the deficit to 6-4.

Chapman, who collected a staggering 10 strikeouts in the game, fanned the side in order to give her offense a chance. Rape was hit by a pitch to lead off and she scored on an error that allowed Zada McDaniel to reach first. Bice then smacked a double to put both McDaniel and herself in scoring position. Chapman played hero, smacking a shot up the middle and driving in a pair of runs for the walk-off victory. 

Although Waller and Chapman combined for six strikeouts in the championship, it wasn’t enough for Alex City to overcome Phenix City.

“We just didn’t bring our ‘A’ game to the championship game,” Gaston said. “They didn’t beat us; we beat ourselves. We struggled at the plate, the mound and defensively. We learned a lot of lessons in this game and we are looking to bounce back hard for the upcoming state tournament.” 

Lizi Arbogast is the sports editor at Tallapoosa Publishers, Inc.