Hillcrest splits pair on first day of State Softball Championship Tournament

The Hillcrest Patriots had mixed results, being sent to the consolation bracket but managing to avoid elimination on the first day of the Class 6A State Softball Championship Tournament.

Hillcrest lost to Athens, 12-6 to open the day before defeating Pell City 4-2 in the Consolation Bracket.

Hillcrest got off to a good start in its first game, against No. 2 ranked Athens. The Patriots scored four runs in the second inning to grab an early lead. A bases-loaded walk brought in the first Hillcrest run, before the Patriots Haley Hollyhand delivered a two-run single to give Hillcrest a 3-1 lead.

The next hitter, McKenzie Nece beat out an infield single to shortstop to bring home another Hillcrest run, making it 4-1.

The Patriots could not hold the early momentum. Athens scored five unanswered to retake the lead. The Golden Eagles put the game away with a six run fifth inning.

Following the loss, Hillcrest softball played Pell City in an elimination game and just like it did against Athens, Hillcrest jumped out to a lead.

The Patriots led 4-0 after five innings and stay alive with a 4-2 victory.

Hillcrest will play Hazel Green in another elimination game when the Class 6A State Softball Championship Tournament resumes Friday morning. The game will be played at Oxford Lake Park.

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