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Husky Softball Captures 2021 7A State Title

 

May 23, 2021

OXFORD – A little adversity was not going to stand in the Huskies’ way.

After falling in the first game on Friday afternoon, the Hewitt-Trussville High School softball team turned the tide and ran to a 16-4 victory over Fairhope in the Class 7A state championship game at Choccolocco Park in Oxford.

Fairhope beat Hewitt-Trussville 4-2 in the opener of the championship series, but the Pirates needed to beat the Huskies twice in the double elimination tournament. Fairhope even jumped on the Huskies 3-0 after two innings of the decisive contest.

That’s when head coach Taylor Burt gathered her starting nine outside the dugout and challenged them.

“I told them to close their eyes and I told them to imagine the girl they used to be at 5 years old,” she said. “I said, ‘Hey, go back to being that little girl.’ Let’s go dance, let’s go have fun, let’s go play this game and love and appreciate every single second of it.”

Perhaps it was merely circumstance, but the mental exercise paid immediate dividends. 

The Hewitt-Trussville bats came to life in the third inning. Anyce Harvey belted a two-run home run to left field to cut the deficit to 3-2. The Huskies piled up four more runs in the inning and sent 10 to the plate.

That Harvey homer set the tone for the rest of the contest. Tournament MVP Jenna Lord called it “an absolute momentum booster.”

“It lit a fire for everybody in that dugout,” Burt said. 

The floodgates opened and never shut. Hewitt-Trussville added another run in the fifth, exploded for six more in the sixth and three in the seventh. 

“I think we really kind of had to lose that first ball game for us to understand and really appreciate the year that we’ve had and really go through a little bit of adversity here at the end to have some fight. To end like that, you can’t ask for anything better,” Burt said.

Lord finished the championship game with four runs driven in, while Crystal Maze, Katelyn Murphy and Harvey all knocked in three. Maze capped off her illustrious Huskies career with a home run off a charter bus beyond the right field fence in the seventh inning. 

Madi Mitchell drove in two runs and made the all-tournament team, along with Sara Phillips, who pitched a complete game, striking out eight and allowing four runs on six hits. 

Tori Hyde started the first game Friday for the Huskies and pitched well for four innings — including a pair of sliding catches from left fielder Rubie Simon — before running into trouble in the fifth. Phillips came on to throw the final 2 1/3 innings without surrendering a run. Those two and Sarah Hindman, combined to pitch the majority of Hewitt’s innings all season and gave the Huskies a deep and effective pitching staff. 

Regarded as the favorite to repeat as Class 7A state champions, the team embraced the expectations and set out to match them.

The team finished the mission on Friday afternoon. It is Hewitt’s second state title in program history and second in a row, since there was no postseason last spring.

“I’ve never felt anything like it,” said Lord, who arrived at Hewitt-Trussville last season. “It’s amazing. I’ve been so blessed to be around such amazing girls. I couldn’t ask for a better senior season and I couldn’t ask for a better group of girls to do it with.”

Hewitt-Trussville (49-3-1) put together one of the most dominant seasons in recent memory, rolling through the state’s highest classification with seeming ease throughout most of the season. The Huskies’ only losses were to Helena (in a tournament) and Spain Park in area play.

At the state tournament, the Huskies picked up steam after a slow start. Hewitt-Trussville edged out a 5-4 win over Baker in its opening game of the tournament on a Lord walk-off single to plate Hannah Dorsett.

Riley Tyree singled home a run in the second to tie the game, Kenleigh Cahalan hit a sacrifice fly to give the Huskies a 2-1 lead, Cahalan tripled in a run and Lord scored another on a groundout to make it 4-1. Baker rallied in the sixth for three runs to tie it before the Huskies sealed the deal in the final frame.

See more from the Cahaba Sun.