SSHS Softball: Ladies open at CHS

By Chad Dixon

The Smiths Station Lady Panthers (20-19, 3-1) are awaiting next week’s Class 7A Region 4 tournament as they open up with Auburn on May 4 at Central High School. They participated in last weekend’s Beauregard Invitational in preparation for the area tournament. On April 21, the Lady Panthers fell to Alabama Christian Academy 3-0 to put them one loss away from elimination in the tournament. 

Smiths Station matched up with Chilton County in its second game. Kirsten Schwarting led the game with a single to center field. Alexis Cosgrove reached safely on an infield error to advance Schwarting to second. Abi Webb bunted both runners into scoring position with a sacrifice. Later in the inning, Schwarting was picked off of third. With two out, Catie Martin drew a walk to load the bases. Lexi Webb then drew a four-pitch walk to score Cosgrove and give Smiths Station a 1-0 lead. 

The Lady Panthers added on to their lead with a five-run top of the third inning. Michaud doubled to start the inning. Martin then drew her second walk of the game. Lexi Webb grounded into a fielder’s choice with runners at the corners as Michaud was thrown out at home. Alex Cole then walked to load the bases with one out. Bella Galarza drew a walk to plate the second Smiths Station run. Ashlie Foxworth reached on a third base error and Webb scored on the play to extend the lead to three. 

With the bases still loaded, Schwarting drew a walk to score Teena Morgan, who pinch ran for Cole. Cosgrove and Michaud followed with back-to-back RBI singles to give the Panthers a 6-0 lead. Smiths Station added another five runs in the top of the fourth after Chilton County scored a run in the bottom of the third. Lexi Webb and Cole drew back-to-back walks to start the fourth inning. Foxworth hit a double two batters later to put runners at second and third ahead of Webb scoring on an infield error. With two out, Cosgrove doubled to score a pair and extend the lead to 9-1. Abi Webb then doubled to center to score Cosgrove. Michaud hit a fly ball to right, which was misplayed; Webb scored on the play. Foxworth was given plenty of run support as she picked up the win in the 11-1 victory. She allowed one earned run on four hits and struck out two over four innings. Cosgrove and Michaud were 3-for-4 each. 

Stanhope Elmore would oppose Smiths Station on April 22 as the tournament continued. The Lady Panthers once again jumped out to an early 1-0 lead. Lexi Webb reached on a one-out error in the top of the first. She scored on a Cosgrove double. That would be it for the Smiths Station offense as they fell to Stanhope 2-1 and were eliminated from the tournament. 

The focus is now on the area tournament. Smiths Station swept the regular season series with Auburn. They won 6-2 in Auburn on Feb. 28 and 6-3 on March 6 at home. The winner will play the regular season area champions Central in the second round of the double elimination tournament. Only the top two teams will advance to the state tournament later in the month.