By Ronald Frazier
Glenwood’s Ashley Gallant pitched 16 strong innings and leadoff batter Neely Austin had four hits including two game winners as the Lady Gators captured the Region One softball championship April 27 at Lagoon Park.
The Lady Gators took two one-run victories, a 4-3 win over Bessemer Academy in nine innings and a 1-0 win over Edgewood Academy in the title game. Those wins made it four wins in a row for Glenwood for the week and ensured the No. 1 seed for the state tournament that begins May 4 at the Lagoon Park softball complex at 11 a.m. ET against the No. 4 seed from Region Two. Earlier in the week, Glenwood played two games against Macon East on April 24 and won them both behind the hitting of Kayson Boatner, who also got two pitching wins against the Lady Knights.
Those four wins improved Glenwood’s season record to 48-10-1.
In the region semifinals, Glenwood faced Bessemer, which earned the right by winning their series against Lee-Scott and eliminated the Lady Warriors from the state tournament.
Boatner got things started against the Lady Rebels with a first inning home run, her 28th of the season but the Lady Rebels came right back and trailing 3-1, got a two-run homer by Bailey Welch to tie it at 3-3. That’s when Austin provided her first game winner with a single that scored Gallant with two out in the 9th and gave Glenwood the 4-3 win and berth in the title game. Both pitchers went the distance as Gallant pitched nine innings and striking out eight despite giving up the three runs. Alese Antonello went the distance for Bessemer.
Besides Austin and Boatner, Kamren Bence and Carlena Hampton had the other RBI for the winners. If Gallant was tired, she certainly did not show it against Edgewood. Gallant was on point as she threw her second straight complete game, this one a two-hit shutout while striking out five. The Lady Wildcats had only four base runners in the game.
Once again Austin came through for the Lady Gators as she singled in courtesy runner Lacie Pelt for what proved to be the game winner in the 5th for the only run of the game.
Prior to the tournament, Glenwood played Macon East and won two by scores of 10-6 and 5-4. In the 10-6 win, Boatner pitched five innings and got 12 hits total from her teammates. Hope Gullatt and Hayden Evans each had two RBI and Gullatt, Gallant and Hampton all had two hits in the five-inning game.
The first game was a real see-saw affair as Glenwood played another nine-inning contest, beating the Lady Knights 5-4. Gallant started the game and pitched eight innings while getting six strikeouts and giving up only one earned run, while leaving the game tied 4-4. Boatner pitched a scoreless 9th and got the victory on the mound. Boatner also provided the fire power, going three for three with four RBI and two home runs. Her second homer erased an 8th inning 4-2 Macon East lead and sent the game into the ninth. Anna Perdue was the hitting hero for Glenwood in the ninth as she singled with no one out and scored Bence from second for the 5-4 victory.