Thompson beats Hoover to claim area tournament championship
By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor
HOOVER – With wins against Tuscaloosa County and Hoover on Wednesday, May 5, the Thompson Warriors’ softball team entered a second matchup with Hoover on Thursday, May 6 looking to notch another win a championship on the line.
After clinching a spot in regionals the night before with a 3-2 win against the Buccaneers in a 3-2 win thanks to three runs in the top of the sixth for a comeback victory, the Warriors needed just one win to claim the area title on Thursday night, while the Bucs needed two.
And from the start, Thompson looked like a team that knew what the game meant.
The Warriors didn’t hesitate in taking a 2-0 lead in the first and added two more in the fourth, one more in the fifth and then another two-spot in the sixth to score seven runs and claim the area championship with a 7-1 victory.
Hoover outhit Thompson 12-11 in the game, but the Bucs left nine on base and never could convert offensively with Thompson pitcher Eleanor DeBlock and the defense behind her getting out of every jam.
DeBlock gave up 12 hits and threw 117 pitches, but struck out three and gave up just one run in a complete-game win. Two big double plays and great defense were keys in keeping Hoover at bay and allowing the Warriors to pull away.
While Hoover was coming off a 9-5 extra-inning win against Tuscaloosa County to keep its season alive, it was Thompson who gained the early confidence in the bottom of the first.
The Warriors got a walk from DeBlock and a single from Jenna Williams to put two aboard with one out.
That was followed by back-to-back RBI singles from Laney Williams and Ella Pate.
Up 2-0 after those two hits, the Warriors got through the first four innings without giving up a run to maintain the 2-0 lead before adding to it in the bottom of the fourth.
That’s when Jenna Williams picked up a big two-out hit for Thompson.
After double play put two down in the inning, DeBlock reached base safely again to put a runner on for Williams, who battled through a 10-pitch at bat before finally finding the one she was waiting patiently for.
On the 10th pitch, she drove a rocket out of the park for a two-run home run that put the Warriors on top 4-0.
Hoover came back to load the bases in the top of the fifth with no outs thanks to three consecutive singles, but that’s when Thompson’s defense was able to turn one of the two crucial double plays.
The Warriors gave up a run in the process, but put two outs on the board and got the third during the next at bat to get out of the inning with a 4-1 lead.
Pate then followed that up by leading off the bottom half with a solo home run to extend the lead right back to four runs.
Thompson then added two more insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth off a two-RBI single from Jenna Williams, who finished the night with a game-high four RBIs and three hits.
That completed a dominant night for the Warriors in the 7-1 championship win.
Aside from Jenna Williams’ 3-for-4 performance featuring four RBIs and two runs scored, Pate finished the game 3-for-4 with two RBIs. Laney Williams added one hit and one RBI, while Dailynn Motes had a triple and one run scored.
DeBlock finished with two hits at the plate and picked up the championship win in the circle.