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Submitted / The Outlook Alexander City's 10U All-Star softball team placed third at its state championships in Millbrook on Saturday. Team members include, front row, from left, Sam Galvon, Zi Lockhart, Cheyenne Fuller, Zada McDaniel, Zoya Menniefield, Ree Johnson; middle row, Kennedy Rape, Ri Lockhart, Elodi Waller, Henley Bice, Fallon Floyd, Aubrey Chapman; back row, assistant coach Haley Bice, assistant coach Erlando Menniefield and head coach Mallory Gaston.

It was an up and down tournament for the Alexander City 10U All-Star softball team, which had to settle for third best after losses to eventual champion New Site and Phenix City in the semifinals.

“Overall, I am so proud of these girls,” Alex City 10U coach Mallory Gaston said. “They placed in the top three in every tournament they competed in. There’s a lot of talent in this group, and I know they still have a lot more to accomplish.”

Alex City started out strong enough, earning a 7-2 victory over Sardis to begin the tournament Friday night. Sam Galvan did the work in the circle, racking up six strikeouts en route to the victory. The score was 2-2 after the first inning, but Alex City’s bats came alive in the third inning. It put up five runs in the third frame alone to ensure the win.

Game 2 was a tough 10-2 loss against New Site. A few Alex City errors allowed New Site to break out in the first inning, and Alex City could never recover.

Alex City got back to its winning ways with back-to-back victories en route to the semifinals. First, AC earned its most dominating win of the tournament, 16-3 over Chelsea.

Chelsea got off to a strong start, scoring three runs in the top of the first. But Alex City immediately answered and more, exploding for all 16 of its runs in the opening inning. Elodie Waller and Aubrey Chapman each had a home run and combined for six runs scored. Ree Johnson went 2-for-2, and Alex City struck out only three times during 20 at bats.

Henley Bice fire the one-hit victory that featured three strikeouts.

Alex City kept up its heavy hitting, picking up an 11-3 win against East Tuscaloosa. Johnson and Cheyenne Fuller were each 2-for-2, and this time, it was Alex City which jumped out to a 5-0 lead and never looked back. Bice fired the win, allowing just two hits while striking out three.

In the semifinals, Alex City met its match, falling to Phenix City, 10-1. Aubrey Chapman had a fine performance in the circle with nine strikeouts and only four walks, but Alex City’s offense fell short. Waller and Johnson combined to produce the only two hits of the game.

“We had the leadoff runner on base for three straight innings, but we just couldn’t produce at the plate when we needed it,” Gaston said. “This was our third game in a row in the losers’ bracket, and I believe we just ran out of gas.”

Despite the loss, Gaston was still positive about her team’s performance and is looking forward to the future for both Alex City and the surrounding areas.

“We would like to say congratulations to our New Site sisters for going on to beat Phenix City and win their second state championship,” Gaston said. “I can’t say enough about the softball programs in Tallapoosa County. I saw great things from Alex City, Dadeville and New Site this all-star season. It excites me to know that softball is being recognized once again as a dominant sport.

“I’d also like to give a shoutout to the coaches that were with me every step of the way, Erlando Menniefield and Haley Bice. They did and continue to do amazing things with this sport. Same to the parts of my girls, we thank (them) for allowing us to take of (their) lives for the month of June. We enjoyed every second of this season.” 

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