The Alex High School softball team won its district tournament Wednesday at Verden High School, and needed some close wins to do so.
The Lady Longhorns went 3-1 in the tournament, beating Verden once and Lookeba-Sickles twice.
The game against Verden was the only one that passed without some drama involved, and Alex won 6-2. The loss ended Verden's season, as the Lady Tigers had lost to Lookeba-Sickles in the first game of the day, 14-10.
Verden ended its season with a record of 5-13.
Alex struck first, scoring one run in the top of the first inning. That was probably the best-case scenario for Verden, as the Longhorns' first six runners reached base. A couple of fielder's choice outs got the Tigers out of the inning.
Verden tied the game up when Cheyenne Hanna scored on an error after hitting a single.
The Longhorns put the game away in the second and third innings with two runs in each inning. Verden put up one run in the third. Ashley Whitley singled, then advanced to third on a ground-out by Katie Perault. Hanna drove her home with an RBI double.
Whitley went 2-for-4 and scored one run. Hanna finished 2-for-3 with one RBI.
Alex scored one more run in the seventh inning to win by four runs.
Next up for Alex was a game against a Lookeba-Sickles team that had a few hours to get rested for its second district game of the day.
It was a back-and-forth game, and neither team was able to keep momentum for very long. Lookeba-Sickles scored first, getting one run. Alex answered with two in the bottom of the first and one in the bottom of the second.
Just when it looked like the Longhorns might be in control, the Panthers posted four runs, largely due to errors, wild pitches and pass balls by Alex.
The Longhorns maintained their lead by scoring three runs in the bottom of the third, and benefitted from some sloppy plays by the Panthers.
Alex would hold on to the lead for the rest of the game, and won 9-7.
Shelby Selzer was 2-for-4 with one RBI. Paige Luna was 1-for-4 with one RBI, and was also the starting pitcher. She had ten strikeouts.
The second game was even closer, but it took a rally by Alex in the sixth inning to even have a chance.
Lookeba-Sickles took a 5-1 lead after the fourth inning, and looked to be cruising to the win. Alex scored one run in the fifth inning.
In the sixth, Alex started off with a walk and got two runners on with a fielder's choice. Freshman Cerissa Jones hit a two-run triple and then scored on the next at-bat due to an error, and the game was tied.
Both teams went scoreless in both the seventh and eighth innings. Alex scored one run in the ninth, an RBI double by Luna that looked like it might be the game-winner. But the Lady Panthers responded with two runs, and forced a deciding third game.
Alex got another close win, 5-4 to win the district.
The Express-Star will post schedule and information for the regional playoffs when that information becomes available.