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Aggies clinch 5A Area 7 regular season softball title


SYLACAUGA, Ala. – The Sylacauga Lady Aggies defeated Clay-Central 6-4 Tuesday afternoon to claim the 5A Area 7 regular season title.

Clay-Central jumped out to an early lead in the first inning with a solo homerun over the center field fence. The lead did not last long for the Volunteers.  The Aggies tied the game after Maddi Ingram was hit by a pitch, stole second and was pushed across the plate by a McKenzie Merkel base knock.

Clay-Central regained the lead, 3-1, in the top of the third on three hits that produced two runs.  Sylacauga pulled to within one run in the bottom half of the inning after Aurielle Turner led off with a double and scored when Madison Martin’s bunt was overthrown at first base.

Moving on to the bottom half of the fourth, Neeley-Scott Murphree and Lani Varner were both walked.  Kaylei Horn followed with a sacrifice bunt moving the runners to second and third.  The Aggies then took their first lead of the contest on a Turner two RBI base hit.

The 4-3 Aggie lead was short lived.  Despite two Volunteer batters striking out to begin the fifth inning, they manage to tie the game 4-4 with the help of back to back base hits and two consecutive Aggie errors.

In the sixth inning, the Sylacauga infielders put out three consecutive Vol batters including a hard hit line drive to shortstop Brighton Clary who caught it just before it hit the ground for the third out.  The bottom half of the inning was a near repeat of the fourth inning for Sylacauga, only this time, Murphree reached base on a double and Varner reached base with a hit.  Murphree scored on Kaylei Horn’s game winning RBI single and Varner comes across the plate as Turner is being put out at first base.

The Aggie defense held tight one last time in the top of the seventh to secure the 6-4 victory and area title.

Offensively the Aggies had 10 hits, led by Aurielle Turner. Turner went 3 for 4 at the plate including a double, three RBIs and a run scored.  Neely-Scott Murphree and Lani Varner also combined for three hits, including a double (Murphree) and four runs scored.

Varner who pitched the complete game, struck out six batters, gave up six hits and three walks on 121 pitches.

The area title is the first for head coach Jay Brooks, who took over the Lady Aggie softball program five years ago.

During the team’s celebration, senior center fielder Maddi Ingram said, “I’m so excited. I’ve played since the seventh grade, and this is the first time we’ve ever gotten to host the area tournament.”

Sylacauga, although having clinched the area title, looks to remain undefeated in area play when they travel Wednesday afternoon to take on Munford.

The Aggies move to 12-7-2 (3-0 Area) on the season.

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