By Bryan Davis
Hebron shocked the world on Saturday.
At the very least, the Lady Eagles shocked the world of Class A softball. Not only did they earn their first-ever berth to the Class A State Tournament, they defeated the Bayou Academy Lady Colts, something no team has been able to do in North Half Tournament play in five years.
They defeated the Lady Colts 1-0, after tearing through Deltaâ€™s pitching for a 10-0 win to start the day.
The first game was much like some of Hebronâ€™s recent outings. It was short, and Hebron produced a lot of runs, so many the mercy rule ended it after five.
Chloe Tapley started the game in the circle for Hebron, firing the first four innings. She struck out nine batters and walked one. Jessica Flemming pitched one perfect inning in relief.
Tapley had a hit and a run at the plate, and Flemming scored a run in the game.
The Lady Eagles got off to a great start, scoring six runs in the first inning. Four more in the fifth sealed the deal for Hebron.
At the plate, Alaina Hill had a hit and a run, and senior Cathryn Moore had a triple and two runs, with an RBI. Magen Tapley had a hit, two runs and and RBI.
Beverly Blake led the team with two hits in three at-bats, and Tori Nichols drove in one run and scored one. Brittany Ousle was 1-for-2 as well, with a run scored and two RBI.
Hillary Arnold had a double in the game.
With the pitcher Tapley only throwing four innings, this blasting of North Delta set the stage for a battle for the ages in the next game.
Anyone who follows academy softball in Mississippi is aware of Bayouâ€™s reputation as a powerhouse. The Lady Colts have dominated opponents in North Half Tournament play for half a decade.
â€śThis game was two heavyweights slugging it out,â€ť said Hebron head coach Cass Tapley. â€śMiss a pitch, make an error, anything goes wrong and you lose.â€ť
Cathryn Moore did not miss her pitch in the fourth inning. With the game scoreless, Moore gapped a ball to left center for a triple.
Magen Tapley then came to the plate. She was able to do her job and get the runner in on a ground out that put the Lady Eagles up 1-0.
In the circle, Tapley was as strong as ever. Just a sophomore, she plowed right through the Bayou order, inning after inning.
Though the mercy rule was desired, it would not be enforced in this game. It went the full seven, and it looked like the Lady Colts were going to make a big splash in that final inning.
Tapley had two outs, but she had two Bayou runners at second and third. She made her pitch, and the Lady Colt batter lined the pitched toward the shortstop Tapley.
The pitcherâ€™s older sister made a running back handed catch in shallow left filed to put an end to the Bayou threat.
The young pitcher finished the game with seven innings in the circle, striking out eight on three hits.
â€śChloe is always going to give you a chance to win,â€ť Tapley said. â€śTwo shutouts in the playoffs is a big deal. I can tell you things got tense in the last inning, but her pitching never changed. I have never seen her rattled, and today was no different.â€ť
Tapley says it was probably the best win he has ever been a part of, and that is likely due to the fact that it was such a complete team effort.
â€śAll nine starters made a play in some way to earn this win over a strong team and a strong softball program,â€ť Tapley said. â€śI know I sound like a broken record but again our Seniors stepped up. They all made plays in the field and then at the plate Cathryn gets on and Magen brings her in again.â€ť
At the plate, Hill and Ousley both had singles. Moore had the triple, and Magen Tapley had the RBI.