Bibb County getting another shot to stop Good Hope
Fri. May 18, 2012 at 1:00 a.m. | By Andrew Carroll
AHSAA Class 4A
at Lagoon Park, Montgomery
10:30 a.m. – Holtville (33-8) vs. Wilson (27-23-1)
10:30 a.m. – Cherokee County (36-4) vs. Headland (28-7)
Noon – Alabama Christian (28-16-2) vs. Haleyville (33-14)
Noon – Good Hope (43-5-2) vs. Bibb County (25-20)
5:30 – Game 1 loser vs. Game 2 loser
5:30 – Game 3 loser vs. Game 4 loser
7 p.m. – Game 1 winner vs. Game 2 winner
7 p.m. – Game 3 winner vs. Game 4 winner
9 a.m. – Game 7 loser vs. Game 6 winner
9 a.m. – Game 8 loser vs. Game 5 winner
10:30 a.m. – Game 7 winner vs. Game 8 winner
Noon – Game 9 winner vs. Game 10 winner
3 p.m. – Game 11 loser vs. Game 12 winner
5:30 p.m. – Game 11 winner vs. Game 13 winner
7 p.m. – if necessary
CENTREVILLE | Jan Lowery, a longtime assistant, has accompanied the Bibb County softball team to Montgomery six times. Today she’ll be making decisions as a head coach in the AHSAA Class 4A tournament.
Bibb County, the runner-up in the South Central Regional, opens against Good Hope, which was ranked fourth in the final poll. Lowery said her team lost to Good Hope 4-0 during the regular season.
"It was very worth it taking over as the head coach since I’ve been a part of it for so long," said Lowery, whose team faced Class 5A and Class 6A competition in 24 games. "What it meant to me was seeing how hard my girls had worked. This may be one of the least-talented teams I have been a part of in my years here, but it’s one of the hardest-working bunch of girls I’ve ever worked with. Anything we’ve asked them to do they have done, and they have done it full out."
Junior pitcher Mandi Woodruff exemplifies the Lady Choctaws’ work ethic. Woodruff (25-17) has struck out 429 batters in 243 2/3 innings. She has five no hitters, including three perfect games, 16 shutouts and one save.
In the regional at Troy, Bibb County lost to Calera 5-2 but bounced back with a 15-0 win over Holt as Woodruff pitched a perfect game. The Lady Choctaws beat Dadeville (3-0) and Jemison (6-3) and downed No. 5-ranked Oak Grove (1-0). Holtville claimed the regional title with a 2-1 v ictory.
"We were struggling a little bit because I had two starters who left me to come home for the prom," Lowery said. "I was playing with three kids out of position, two that hadn’t played in about three weeks.
"If we play at all like we did Saturday, there is great hope for the girls. We can compete with anybody if we play at that level."
Woodruff had 62 strikeouts in 38 innings in the regional. She allowed 16 hits and eight walks.
"Her strength is keeping the batters off -balance," Lowery said. "They don’t know what’s coming."
Woodruff, who usually hits fifth, has a .336 batting average and leads the team with 28 RBIs. Sophomore center-fielder Haley Suttle, the leadoff hitter, leads the team with a .379 average.
Senior Jamellya Ducker starts at third base. The only other seniors are right-fielder Veronika James and Emily Dees. Lowery said Dees was a starting catcher but became a utility player because of arm trouble.
Suttle had eight hits in the regional. Freshman second baseman Sumer Hudson had six hits and eight RBIs. Junior shortstop Marena Miles had six hits, including a triple. Ducker had three hits, including a triple, and drove in six runs. Woodruff had four hits, including a triple, and drove in five runs.
Junior Kayla Averette starts in left field with freshman Hali Jones at catcher and sophomore Kara Pinkston at first base.
"I’ve got a few girls that can get on base," Lowery said. "Almost all nine can play small ball. It’s a good bunting team, but I just think it’s a good combination of all. Our leadoff batter has a high percentage of getting on base, and the next three or four somehow manage to get her in. I don’t know if it’s fortunate or unfortunate but we have won several games by one run."
Reach Andrew Carroll at email@example.com or at 205-722-0223.