Pleasant Valley, rested coach ready to take on second day of North Central Regional
by Joe Medley
jmedley@annistonstar.com
May 10, 2013 | 3775 views |  0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Pleasant Valley's Savannah Spaulding fouls off a pitch against Cold Springs. (Photo by Stephen Gross)
Pleasant Valley's Savannah Spaulding fouls off a pitch against Cold Springs. (Photo by Stephen Gross)
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TUSCALOOSA -- Chances are Pleasant Valley softball coach David Bryant should sleep very well Friday night.

His team survived the day in the Class 2A bracket at the North Central Regional, beating Fultondale 14-3 in five innings after falling 7-4 to Cold Springs in the Raiders’ opener at Sokol Park.

Pleasant Valley (26-12) will have to fight on through the elimination bracket Saturday, starting at 8 a.m. against Vincent.

As for Bryant, he survived the day after a near-sleepless but joyful two days, following the birth his and wife Dana’s fourth child and their first son.

David Frederick Bryant IV was born at 9:22 a.m. Wednesday and stayed in his parents’ room both nights that followed. Dad stayed as long as he could then left Regional Medical Center at 2:30 a.m. Friday.

He arrived in Tuscaloosa at 5:45 a.m. and ate breakfast with the team. Then they waited out a near-three-hour rain delay before the Raiders’ first game.

“I wouldn’t change a thing. I’m excited,” Bryant said. “Boy or girl, it’s a blessing to have a new child.”

David and Dana Bryant have three daughters --- Ashley, 20, Anna, 12, and Allie, 7. Anna, who soon turns 13, pitched against Fultondale on Friday and got the victory, striking out three batters and allowing two hits over five innings.

The Raiders had several stars on the day, especially against Fultondale. Savannah Spaulding went 3-for-4 with a triple, two RBIs and a run. Tiffany Williams, Kara Perry, McKinley Parris and Jordan Moorer each had two hits. Perry, Parris and Moorer had two RBIs apiece.

Against Cold Springs, Parris drove in two runs and Williams one as the Raiders rallied from a 6-0 deficit to within 6-4 going into the seventh inning.

“I feel like we’re going to play better tomorrow,” Spaulding said. “Our energy level is going to be better tomorrow.”

Bryant could be forgiven low energy, but his players said they didn’t notice it.

“He was excited. He was ready,” Williams said. “He was so happy because of the baby, and he was excited about regional.”

The new papa and coach said he had everything he needed to get through the day.

“Well, I had plenty of coffee,” he said with a laugh. “The excitement of being in regionals helps out, too.

“It’s tough to keep my energy level up. I tried to, best I could, for the girls on the team, but it was a challenge.”

Now, coach and team have to win three games today to advance to the state tournament. He rested at the team hotel.

“It’s a lot to take in in one week, the excitement of your team accomplishing a goal and seeing your first-born son all in one week,” Bryant said. “It’s emotional. A lot of emotion. A lot of excitement.

“But I’m looking forward to a good night’s rest and getting the batteries recharged.”

Wellborn

Wellborn opened 2A North Central Regional play with a 7-1 loss to Lamar County on Friday but made it through the day with a 15-0, three-inning victory over Aliceville in the losers’ bracket.

The Panthers (19-17-1) will play Cold Springs today at 8 a.m. at Sokol Park.

“We did what we had to do against this team (Aliceville),” said Wellborn assistant coach Stephen Gay, who finished out the Aliceville game after head coach Brenda Vinson left to attend daughter Kasey’s graduation from Jacksonville State University. “Now, we’ve got to go get some rest and get ready for a long day tomorrow.”

Against Aliceville, Brooklyn Angle went 3-for-3 with two RBIs and three runs. Laurel Hembric and Kamryn Beasley each drove in two runs, and Lauren Carroll drove in a run.

Carroll was Wellborn’s bright spot against Lamar County, going 3-for-4.

Alexandria

Alexandria split its two North Central Regional games Friday, beating Lincoln 10-2 in an elimination game and falling 10-9 to Sardis in the opener at Sokol Park in Tuscaloosa.

The Valley Cubs (20-24) will play Cleburne County in an elimination game today at 9:30 a.m. They have to win three games today to qualify for the state tournament.

“It was a heartbreaker, the first one,” Alexandria coach Brian Hess said. “We were leading the whole game and just blew it there in the end, but they played hard all day.

“To lose a heartbreaker like that the first game and then to come back and battle back and play the way they did in the second game, I’m proud of their effort.”

Against Lincoln, pitcher Taylor Ellison allowed five hits and two earned runs with seven strikeouts over seven innings. Erin Farlow and Kaitlyn Rhodes had three hits apiece, and Timberlyn Schurbutt had two.

Against Sardis, the Valley Cubs built an 8-3 lead but lost on a three-run double by Jadie Fobbus.

Alexandria had several offensive standouts against Sardis. Rhodes was 4-for-5 with five RBIs, and Ellison was 3-4. Kaylee Golden and Madison Shanks each had two hits.

Cleburne County

Cleburne County split on Friday, beating Locust Fork 1-0 then falling victim to a perfect game from Cherokee County pitcher Tori Davis.

Cherokee County won 7-0, sending Cleburne County (23-11) into the losers’ bracket today against Alexandria.

Cleburne County’s Kiara Akles pitched a complete-game one-hitter against Locust Fork, striking out five batters, and scored the winning run. She reached on a triple and scored on a wild pitch.

“I thought we played well (on the day),” Cleburne County coach Ron Ervin said. “Locust Fork was a good team. Kiara threw great in that first game against Locust Fork.

“I thought we played well against Cherokee County, but we had a couple of miscues.”

Cherokee County

Davis was on point Friday, throwing a perfect game in a 7-0 victory over Cleburne County and a one-hitter in a 1-0 victory over Crossville.

The Warriors (38-7) will play either St. Clair County or Sardis at 9:30 a.m. today.

Davis struck out 32 batters (16 in each game) on the night. The one hit she allowed against Crossville was a bunt single.

“She was amazing tonight,” Cherokee County coach Travis Barnes said. “She was just hitting her spots extremely well. She’s a senior. She’s focused and wants to do it (win state) this year, and she come ready to play.”

The perfect game was Davis’ second this season. The first came against Jacksonville.

Cherokee County’s Madison Millsaps went 4-for-4 with three runs and an RBI against Cleburne County. Darby Rosser was 2-3 with a run and RBI.

The Warriors scored their lone run against Crossville in the sixth inning on singles by Madison Brannon, Kayle Moon and Claire Chesnut. Chesnut’s single scored Brannon.

Lincoln

Lincoln bowed out of the regional with a 12-5 loss to St. Clair County and 10-2 loss to Alexandria on Friday.

The Golden Bears finished their season 12-17 while making their first regional appearance in “seven or eight years,” Lincoln coach Jessica Dorough said.

“I feel like we didn’t play to our potential, and we could have done a better job,” Dorough said. “It’s a huge accomplishment to be here. I’m very proud of them to make it this far.”

Lincoln third baseman Dalshala Carmichael left the Alexandria game in the bottom of the sixth inning after taking a line drive on her non-glove hand.

“It’s probably some broken knuckles,” Dorough said.

Against St. Clair County, eighth-grader Tyler Tuck hit two triples, including a three-run triple to bring the Golden Bears within 5-3 in the fourth inning. Kierra Groce and Brandy Decker also had two hits apiece.

Sports columnist Joe Medley: 256-235-3576, jmedley@annistonstar.com. On Twitter @jmedley_star.
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