Sparkman makes history with third straight softball titlePublished 10:07am Sunday, May 18, 2014
MONTGOMERY- Led by a group of six seniors who have now been a part of three state championships, Sparkman beat Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa 6-5 in eight innings to claim a third straight state softball championship.
Trailing 4-1, senior Ariel Smith had the big hit, a two-run homer as Sparkman tied the game in the third inning. The game went to extra innings tied at five. Sparkman got the walkoff winning run when Jordan Bullock scored from second base on a misplayed grounder off the bat of Haley Cope.
Bevia Robinson scored two runs for Sparkman and was named Tournament MVP.
Sparkman had defeated Hillcrest 7-2 in the winner’s bracket finals and also had wins over SpainPark (6-5) and Mary Montgomery (7-2).
“Three in a row with this group of seniors is very special,” said Sparkman coach Dale Palmer. “It was a great finish for great group of seniors who will go out as the winningest class ever.”
Over the last three seasons, Sparkman has amassed a record of 178 wins and 19 losses.
It was a 4-3 loss to Buckhorn in early March that seemed to wake up the Senators team. Sparkman reeled off 31 straight wins after that. In the postseason, Sparkman stayed in the winner’s bracket in the area tournament, regional, and championship tournament. The result was 10 straight wins to claim the schools fifth title overall.
Two freshmen, Haley Cope and Kailey Stoker stepped up to play huge roles for the team. Stoker was named to the Class 6A All-Tourney Team along with Robinson, Samantha Mayhall, and Bailey Moore.
Moore had a dramatic walkoff grand slam against Mary Montgomery on Friday.
Stoker pitched a three-hit game and got the win in Saturday’s winner’s bracket game against Albertville. In that game, catcher Taylor Hurford went 2 for 3 with 3 RBI’s.
“Everybody on this team plays an important role,” said Palmer.
All six seniors will move on the play at the next level.
“I got to end it with my best friend,” said Jordan Bullock, a senior who will play at JacksonvilleState next year. “We did it.”