Sometimes you just have to tip your cap and say good game.
Others, you just have to keep fighting until you can't anymore. For Reeltown, that fight ended with a hit batter but it wasn't just that moment that ended their season.
A home run ignited the rally that doomed their campaign. Reeltown’s story began much differently than it ended.
The underdogs that they were entering the AHSAA Regional Tournament was considered a program that would be out in the first game.
Yet, they fought back against Childersburg and an impossible deficit. In the second game, it was a rout but the program still found energy afterward to put Glencoe and the rest of Class 3A on notice.
“This team never gives up,” Reeltown head coach Kelli Hilyer said. “They fight till the end and they’ve had a great season. It just didn’t end the way we wanted it to end but this group took on the challenge of being in 3A for the first time and came to Regionals and won a game and fought hard two games. When it comes down to the last inning, that’s all you can ask for. For them to keep on fighting.”
The Saturday morning game saw the Rebels jump ahead early and even moved into the 2-1 lead after the first inning.
The second inning found Reeltown improve their standing to 4-1 but Glencoe fought back with their second run in the third inning.
It was a definitive lead in the sixth inning that brought in the programs’ sixth run but the offense lulled. Glencoe found a walk to lead off the bottom of the sixth inning and subsequently stole second. An RBI double chipped into the deficit once more but the Rebels were able to maintain their lead into the seventh and final inning.
With one out in the bottom of the seventh inning, the Rebels were in a position enviable of any that had seen their campaigns end earlier.
A single and then an error put runners on first and second respectively. A swinging strikeout gave the Rebels more hope to continue their campaign. All they needed was one out.
It never came for the Rebels.
Reeltown surrendered a three-run home run that tied the game. Afterward, it was downhill from there. The Rebels gave up a walk, committed an error and then walked the bases loaded.
The second pitch of the final batter hit the leg of the player walking in the final run of the season.
Hilyer says that it was tough in the end.
“But that’s the game itself,” Hilyer said. “You make errors – you make great plays. You hit home runs, they hit home runs. It’s just the nature of the game. If our girls gave up then I’d be upset but they played a great game. It was a great season. The whole season was great.”
Setting the foundation in 3A was the senior groups’ job and making it into Regionals with a win was a great way to put the program in a good position for the future. It’s something that Hilyer says she tells the seniors every year.
“They’ve done that this year,” Hilyer said. “Next year, the girls that are going to come back. They’ve got to take it from where we left off. We left it off at a high point in my opinion. We didn’t leave out of this tournament as qualifier one or two but they still played great. Had great leadership. The girls coming back are just going to run with it from there.”