By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor
HOOVER – The Thompson Warriors quickly went from their season on the verge of being over to one of the most historic nights in program history on Wednesday, May 4.
A day after losing to Tuscaloosa County to open the area tournament, the Warriors went straight to the loser’s bracket and were forced to fight for their season.
A day later, however, the Warriors not only staved off elimination to earn a spot in regionals, but went on to beat Hoover twice after doing so to win the area championship and pick up head coach Kevin Todd’s 200th win as the team’s leader.
The special day started with an afternoon matchup with Tuscaloosa County, and one day after losing to the Wildcats in difficult 1-0 game, the Warriors bounced back in a big way.
With their season on the line, Thompson took a 1-0 lead this time around in the first, and that was just the beginning.
The Warriors went on to score four in the second and six in the third, eventually winning 11-0 in five innings to not only keep their season alive but advance to regionals.
Thompson outhit Tuscaloosa County 14-3 in the win with Dailynn Motes and Chalea Clemmons each picking up three of those hits. Motes added three RBIs and had a home run, while Clemmons finished with one RBI.
Olivia TIndell added two hits, while Laney Williams, Kendall Channell and Eleanor DeBlock all had one hit and two RBIs in the victory.
In the circle, DeBlock got the win after striking out two an dgiving up no runs on two hits and a walk in 3 1/3 innings. Holly Selman finished off the game and struck out one while allowing one hit and no walks or runs.
That gave Thompson another shot at Hoover, who had beaten the Warriors twice during the regular season.
With a chance to give their head coach his 200th win, however, the Warriors took to the field shortly after the win against Tuscaloosa County with motivation for him and redemption.
That led to another strong offensive game, as the Warriors outhit Hoover 12-6. They took a 1-0 lead in the second before adding three in the third and three more in the sixth for a 7-1 victory to give Todd the historic victory.
Clemmons was big in the circle for Thompson in the win. She struck out eight and allowed one run on five hits and three walks.
At the plate, the Warriors had three home runs and three doubles. Motes and Ella Pate both finished with two hits and two RBIs, while Tindell and Laney Williams both added two hits.
Jenna Williams and Channell both finished with an RBI and a hit in the victory.
With the win, Thompson had come out of the loser’s bracket to force one final game with the Bucs to determine this year’s champion.
The Warriors, however, fell into a quick 2-0 hole in the top of the first, and their production at the plate wasn’t as high as the two previous games of the day.
That said, with the same mindset the team entered the day with, Thompson was in fight mode.
The Warriors were able to slowly pull the deficit back thanks to strong pitching from DeBlock, and they drew to within one run on a Motes RBI single in the bottom of the second.
Then, in the bottom of the fifth, an RBI double from Pate evened the score at 2-2.
Now a new game, the Warriors came back to the plate looking for the lead in the bottom of the sixth.
After a lead-off double from Clemmons put the first runner on base, Allie Bauer bunted pinch runner Nora Ellis over, and she was able to end up advancing to third.
One batter later, Channell stepped to the plate and laid down another perfectly-placed sac bunt that allowed Ellis to score.
That run became the game-winning run in Thompson’s area championship victory, as the Warriors picked up a 3-2 win.
Channell, Motes and Pate all finished with two hits and one RBI in the victory.
DeBlock struck out five and allowed no runs on five hits and a walk in the winning effort in the circle.
Thompson will now get set for regionals hoping for another run to the state tournament.