American Legion wins softball championship

Published 11:26 pm Thursday, June 9, 2016

American Legion players raise their championship trophy after a four-hour doubleheader that included a blowout victory and a come-from-behind six-run rally to win the 13-15 city softball championship.  — Justin Fedich

American Legion players raise their championship trophy after a four-hour doubleheader that included a blowout victory and a come-from-behind six-run rally to win the 13-15 city softball championship. — Justin Fedich

After winning the first game by 27 runs in a playoff doubleheader, American Legion only needed one more game to win the 13-15 Selma city softball championship over First Avenue Cleaners Thursday. But First Avenue Cleaners put up a stronger fight in the second game, taking a five-run lead going into the bottom of the final inning.

American Legion turned a 15-10 deficit into a 16-15 victory in the bottom of the sixth inning, as a Madi Britt hit to shortstop brought home Mykira Mayo for the winning run.

“It’s amazing and I feel like I’ve grown so much in this game,” Britt said after the game.

After losing to First Avenue Cleaners 17-5 on Monday in the first round of the 13-15 playoffs, American Legion played its way back to the championship game, needing to win two consecutive games against First Avenue Cleaners in the championship matchup. The first game was no contest, as American Legion shut out First Avenue Cleaners 27-0.

Pitching was an issue for First Avenue Cleaners early in the first game. Three different pitchers saw the mound in the top of the first inning, and walks allowed American Legion to build a 17-0 lead before the bottom of the second inning.

American Legion kept First Avenue Cleaners scoreless, with Katie Morgan pitching. Morgan pitched nearly the entirety of the doubleheader Thursday night.

In the top of the second inning, American Legion tacked on 10 more runs, including a Jimaya Nunn in-the-park grand slam that led to the umpires calling the game early shortly afterward.

“I didn’t expect it to be 27-0,” said American Legion head coach Jean Primm. “I did expect to win, but not 27-0.”

Despite the big loss, First Avenue Cleaners was undeterred when the winner-take-all game began after a 15-minute break.

Brooklyn Pouncey started at pitcher for American Legion, and First Avenue Cleaners built a 3-0 lead. Morgan returned to the mound to keep the American Legion deficit at three runs.

American Legion continued to score with ease, as Britt slid safely into home plate to tie the game 3-3. In the top of the second inning, Jamiah Williams scored for First Avenue Cleaners to grab a 4-3 advantage. First Avenue Cleaners added two more runs to lead by three runs once again.

Trailing 6-3 going into the bottom of the third inning, American Legion scored six runs to regain the lead 9-6, thanks in part to an RBI triple from Britt.

After a scoreless fourth inning, Jemeia Fortune beat the tag at home plate to put First Avenue Cleaners back in front 10-9. Britt scored in the bottom of the fifth inning to tie the game 10-10.

First Avenue Cleaners appeared to put the game away in the top of the sixth inning, as a two run in-the-park home run from Krysten Bethel helped her team take a 15-10 lead.

However, American Legion had the last chance to win it, and Britt’s game-winning hit sealed the victory.

“The girls got behind, but they came back and won it,” Primm said, as she turned to her players.

“I’m so proud of y’all, I don’t even know what to say.”

First Avenue Cleaners head coach Jeremy Fortune told his players to keep their heads up after the game, letting them know how proud he was that they stayed in it until it was over.

“The first game, they could’ve came out and quit, but they didn’t,” Fortune said. “They fought until the end and I’m proud of my girls.”

About Justin Fedich

Staff writer for The Selma Times-Journal.

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