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ALABAMA 6A FOOTBALL SITE
Young Bucs Squad Storms the State Tournament finishes 2nd!
May 21, 2011By David Bannister of Hoover High School
Class 6A softball championship: Dothan 8, Hoover 2
MONTGOMERY, Alabama – The young and old of Hoover softball were both disappointed in the Bucs runner-up finish at Friday’s Class 6A championship tournament.
Tears abounded for freshman Kalee Sparks and senior Madison Dickey following Hoover’s 8-2 loss to Dothan, but both were satisfied with the effort from a team dominated by underclassmen. Few expected the Bucs to be here, much less compete for the championship.
“I guess we proved them wrong,” said Samford commitment Dickey, who was one of four Bucs to earn all-tournament status. “This was awesome and I wish I could have done it all four years, but they should be just as good next year, even better. I expect them to be back.”
Except for Dickey, no other starting position player is older than a sophomore, and four freshman and an eighth-grader started.
“This was great experience,” said Sparks, who was 6 for 6 in the final two games. “We were so close to winning it, but runner-up at state is great.”
The Bucs fell to the Tigers in the winners bracket final early on Saturday and were forced to beat Fairhope then Dothan twice if they wanted to earn their sixth state title.
More importantly, ace Marcy Harper (36-12) was experiencing problems with the index finger on her pitching hand. All spin, movement and pressure come from her finger tips and particularly the index finger.
Friday’s 30 innings in addition to 14 innings on Thursday and 27 innings the previous weekend reopened the wound that had healed following area play.
She hurt in Hoover’s 3-0 win over Fairhope, but the pain intensified in the 8-2 victory over Dothan in the first title game. The problems become too much to overcome in the final elimination contest when Dothan started the game with back-to-back home runs. The Tigers belted three home runs in the game – the first time Harper has surrendered three in her Hoover career – and 13 hits.
Coach Jim Brown never considered other options than Harper, one of the best pitchers in the state.
“Of course I don’t want to risk injury, but she pitched five games and 30-something innings at Bob Jones earlier this year,” said Brown, who has guided the Bucs to five championships and two runner-ups in fastpitch. “She’s a competitor, but she just ran out of gas.”
In addition to Dickey, Harper and Sparks, Mary Catherine Nichols also was named to the all-tournament team.
“To come back after that first game with Dothan – we were so close – and beat Fairhope and force a second game, I couldn’t be any more proud of them if we’d won,” Brown said.