By DON WALLACE
News-Telegram Sports Editor
After winning games by lopsided scores all year, the championship turned into a nail-biter for local softball girls.
The Hopkins County All-Star rallied for two runs in the bottom of the fourth and took a 2-0 win over Lindale in the title game Tuesday of the Dixie Softball Tournament Angels X-play tournament at Coleman Park.
The win sends the Hopkins County team to the Dixie World Series in Atoka, Tenn. beginning on July 26.
The big win was the third for many of the girls on the team who had advanced to the World Series at younger age divisions.
Against Lindale Tuesday, they needed all their experience and ability.
Hopkins County had beaten Lindale, 14-1 earlier in the tournament. The home squad came into the championship contest averaging 14.8 runs per game having outscored foes 74-4 heading into the Tuesday night tilt.
The Hopkins County squad had to rely on the time tested recipe of great pitching, steady defense and timely hitting to get the win.
“Lindale hung right with us and made some plays,” said coach Chris Voorheese. “But we scored enough to win. This is an incredible group. It’s amazing what this same core of players has been able to do.”
Makayla Buchanan got the pitching win with a one-hit shutout. She struck out 11 on nine, the only single allowed was an infield roller. Buchanan retired the final nine batters in order.
Hopkins got rolling in the bottom of the fourth with Calli Voorheese hitting a double to left field. The speedy leadoff hitter was then knocked home as Chloe Romero had a double to make it 1-0. Buchanan moved the runner over on a ground out. Journi Hohenberger doubled in the second run with a solid shot to center field.
The 2-0 lead held up in the top of the fifth as Buchanan sat down Lindale in order, the final out retired on a fly ball to the outfield. The team stormed the baseball diamond to celebrate the victory.
In other tournament action - Hopkins County softball board member Betty Sapaugh said that the Hopkins County Ponytails lost 3-2 to Cleveland in Lindale, but will play in the championship game today, in a rematch with Cleveland. Hopkins County teams involved in the Commerce tournament for the Debs and Darlings have been eliminated.
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