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Reeltown's Madison Ledbetter, right, scoops up a ball before putting a tag on a South Choctaw baserunner on Saturday.

Despite battling back and being within spitting distance of a chance to play for a state playoff berth, Reeltown’s softball team fell just short in the Class 2A East Central Regional Tournament on Saturday afternoon.

The Rebels suffered a six-inning defeat at the hands of Leroy late Friday night, which dropped them to the losers’ bracket Saturday, and it looked like they were going to claw all the way. They defeated South Choctaw, 7-1, before meeting Thorsby and falling, 6-5. 

“Of course our goal is always to get to state, but we still did very well,” Rebel coach Kelli Hilyer said. “I don’t want to say we’re a young team but we had seven seniors last year and our kids this year stepped up and took on that role.”

Reeltown led for much of the game, entering the bottom of the sixth inning against Thorsby with a 4-2 lead. But Thorsby came battling back with three runs in the home half of the inning to take a 5-4 edge. Reeltown kept its fight though, tying the game in the top of the seventh.

But Thorsby’s offensive onslaught eventually became too much for the Rebels to handle as Hannah Smith knocked a walk-off single to end the game in Thorsby’s favor.

Although Reeltown hit the ball extremely well throughout the game, racking up 12 hits, Thorsby matched that and then some with 17 hits of its own.

En route to the game against Thorsby, Reeltown’s offense was on point all day Saturday. It finished with 12 hits in its 7-1 win over the Indians as well.

Through the two games, Morgan McGuire finished with four hits, while a slew of Rebels had three apiece. Bella Studdard, Chloe Davidson, Kenzie Gibson, Madison Ledbetter and Marlee Knox each had a trio of hits. All but one Rebel who had a plate appearance contributed at least one single.

“They played with a lot of heart this whole tournament,” Hilyer said. “Our bats came around and we hit the ball very well. Our defense was solid too. Just overall, it seemed to start to come together for us.” 

Reeltown will graduate four seniors, including McGuire and Knox who both have started for at least two years. McGuire has been a mainstay at the top of the Rebel lineup for three years now and once again finished the season with an incredible .495 batting average.

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