The Sardis High School softball team has made the most of its first season in Class 5A.
The Lions posted a 3-1 record in the 5A North Regional at Coffee O’Neal Park in Florence to finish as the runner-up and punch their ticket to the AHSAA State Tournament in Montgomery.
Head coach Richey Lee’s squad meets East Central Regional winner John Carroll Catholic of Birmingham in its tournament opener Thursday morning at 9 at Lagoon Park.
The Lions’ second game, either in the winners bracket or the losers bracket, will be against No. 5 Mortimer Jordan or No. 4 Rehobeth on Thursday at 2:15 p.m.
The winners bracket finals are scheduled for Friday at 10:45 a.m. The 5A championship game is Friday night at 5:45.
Teams in the other half of the bracket are No. 6 Ardmore, Shelby County, No. 9 Satsuma and No. 1 Hayden.
Sardis is making its first appearance in the AHSAA State Tournament since 2013.
“This has been a great year for us and it’s what we put all the hard work in for,” Lee said.
“After winning the county tournament and area tournament, it is a great feeling and a great accomplishment in itself to be able to go to State, especially with this team.
“We play a lot of good teams on our schedule to prepare us for the Regionals and State, so hopefully we can go down to Montgomery and compete with these other great teams from the state.
“The coaches and players have been outstanding to work with and to coach. It’s been an exciting year for Sardis.”
Sardis 4, Scottsboro 3: The Lions triumphed in their North Regional opener on May 10. Their big inning was a three-run third.
Hailey Hill batted 2-for-3 with a double and two runs, and Adelyn Ellis went 2-for-3 with an RBI to lead Sardis’ offense.
Jade Bonds closed 1-for-2 with a triple, one run and one RBI. Emily Cook was 1-for-3 with one run and one RBI.
Kayden Tarvin picked up the win for Sardis by tossing a complete game. She scattered six hits, allowed two earned runs and walked one. She struck out six.
Sardis 2, Hamilton 0: Sarah Beth Hallmark delivered a shutout in the circle for the Lions on May 10, sending them into the finals of the winners bracket.
Hallmark limited Hamilton to three hits. She issued four walks and struck out one.
Harlee Vincent collected two of Sardis’ three hits. Cook contributed a single and one RBI.
Hill walked twice and scored a run, and Bonds walked and scored.
Ardmore 4, Sardis 0: Ardmore secured the No. 1 qualifier by beating the Lions in the winners bracket finals. The contest started May 11 but was suspended due to rain. It resumed two days later on Monday.
“It was difficult to play after being suspended, but it’s part of it and we just didn’t make any adjustments for that game,” Lee said.
Ardmore pitcher Sydney Hall fired a no-hitter. She racked up 14 strikeouts and allowed two walks.
Sardis 13, Hamilton 0: The Lions bounced back in Monday’s losers bracket finals, exploding for 16 hits in a six-inning trouncing of Hamilton that secured their trip to Montgomery.
Mallory Wills slugged a grand slam while Annalee Dilbeck belted a solo homer for Sardis. Wills finished with five RBIs.
Whitney Feemster batted 3-for-4 with three doubles, three runs and two RBIs. Hill went 3-for-3 with a double, two runs and one RBI.
Jaylyn Minshew closed 2-for-2 with two runs, and Dilbeck was 2-for-3 with two runs. Vincent batted 2-for-4 with a double, one run and two RBIs.
Bonds, Kytha Edwards and Lily Towns all singled. Bonds and Cook both scored a run while Edwards and Towns each added an RBI.
Hallmark hurled the shutout for Sardis. She yielded six hits and three walks while striking out two.
“We definitely responded in the qualifying game against Hamilton,” Lee said.
“It had really been since our county tournament where we just were putting up some runs offensively. We finally broke through that game and it obviously helped the momentum to stay on our side.
“Hamilton had two really good games to get to that game. I was very proud of my girls and how they responded from the Ardmore game.”
Over the last nine years, the Sardis softball program has qualified for nine straight Regionals, won three Etowah County Tournament championships, reached the AHSAA State Tournament three times and won the area tournament four of the last five years (and five of the last seven).