Horseshoe Bend pitcher Danielle Mitchell and the Generals found themselves one out away from breaking a two-year drought with area titles.
With two on and two out, Reeltown brought Marlee Knox to the plate. Flashes of an 8-7 comeback win reminded the Generals what the Rebels are capable of.
The Generals got the final groundout, completing a sweep of the Class 2A Area 7 tournament with a 7-5 victory at Reeltown on Thursday.
“I’m just proud of them,” Generals head coach Hagen Whiteard said. “We talked about being consistent all season, and they finally showed that (Thursday). It feels even better doing it here in Reeltown. I’m very excited about heading to the regionals.”
Horseshoe Bend (16-20) avenged the regular-season sweep by Reeltown (13-19-1) by holding on after a five-run second inning.
Leighann McWhorter led off with a walk, Alyssa Whiteard hit a single and Nadia Brooks walked. Reagan Taylor hit an RBI double then Mitchell hit a big three-run homer.
The Generals held a 5-1 lead after two innings and finished their scoring in the third. McWhorter scored on a wild pitch then Brooks hit an RBI single to give Horseshoe Bend a 7-3 lead.
McWhorter reached base three times and scored twice. Mitchell went 2-for-4 at the plate and pitched a complete game, allowing the five runs (three earned) on nine hits and a walk with four strikeouts on her 120 pitches.
Horseshoe Bend earned its spot in the title game with a 6-5 win over Reeltown earlier Thursday. The Generals scored five runs in the fifth sparked by a two-run homer from Moss.
Horseshoe Bend defeated LaFayette 17-0 in three innings to begin the tournament. Nadia Brooks, who hit a two-run inside-the-park home run.
Reeltown scored the game’s first run on an RBI groundout by Bella Studdard, who finished with four RBIs and lasted 3 1/3 innings in the circle. Studdard hit a two-run double in the third to cut Horseshoe Bend’s lead to 5-3 in the third.
Studdard allowed seven runs on eight hits and four walks. Morgan McGuire had three singles and scored three times.
Reeltown eliminated LaFayette with a 19-1 win in three innings in the finals of the loser’s bracket. Studdard hit three home runs and had five RBIs.
“We played a couple of tough, close games,” Rebels head coach Kelli Hilyer said. “Bella’s been seeing the ball very well all season. She’s just a freshman and she’s really coming into her own. We couldn’t make all the plays but we’ll go into the regionals knowing that we can’t take innings off.”
Horseshoe Bend and Reeltown will represent Class 2A Area 7 at the East Central Regional in Oxford beginning May 9.