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Lady Bulldogs make history with first-ever regional championship, state tournament berth

After winning a pair of close games on Thursday at the Metro Kiwanis Sportsplex in Huntsville, Belgreen’s girls saved their best performance for the Class 1A North Regional final on Friday morning.

The Lady Bulldogs pounded Waterloo 15-0 in three innings, winning their first-ever regional championship in dominant fashion and punching their ticket to Montgomery for the first time in program history.

“We came alive today,” said head coach Chris Scott, whose team had beaten Decatur Heritage 12-11 in a back-and-forth affair on Thursday morning before rallying past Covenant Christian for a 7-3 win Thursday night to make the regional final. “We made history—our first time to ever win regionals, and our first time to go to state. These girls are very special, and the future looks very bright.”

That wasn’t necessarily the case a couple of months ago after the Lady Bulldogs opened the season on an 11-game losing streak. Remarkably, they’ve lost only two games since (both in regular-season area play to Tharptown), racking up 26 wins, their second straight county championship, an Area 13 tournament title, a North Region championship and their first-ever trip to the state tournament.

“The girls told me they were not going to lose another game, and so far they have backed it up,” Scott said. “It’s been a long four years, but I wouldn’t change a thing. We may not have the best athletes around, but I bet there’s not any team anywhere that has more heart and determination than this group of girls.

“Everyone has a role on the team, and they love and believe in each other. I’m just proud and thankful to be a part of this team.”

Belgreen scored twice in the first inning on Friday, getting a double from Sydney Borden and taking advantage of two errors by Waterloo. The Lady Bulldogs broke open the game with a huge second inning, sending 11 batters to the plate and scoring six more runs to make it 8-0. Emma Dempsey and Bailey Wood got things started in the second with back-to-back singles, and Borden, Katie Dempsey and Kaycee Wilson also had hits in the six-run rally.

Belgreen put the game away with another big inning in the third, sending nine batters to the plate and scoring seven runs. Emmie Scott and Borden got things rolling with back-to-back one-out singles, and Katie Dempsey drew a walk. Cortny Williams and Emma Dempsey each had a double in the third, and Camie Terrell added a triple.

Emma Dempsey picked up the win in the circle with three shutout innings, allowing four hits and striking out five.

Borden finished 3-for-3 with two doubles and three runs scored. Emma Dempsey was 2-for-2 with a double and a walk, and Katie Dempsey was 1-for-2 with a walk and three runs scored. Scott went 1-for-2 with a walk and scored twice, and Williams was 1-for-3 with a double and a run.

Kaycee Wilson went 1-for-2 with a walk, and Terrell was 1-for-2 with a triple, a sacrifice fly and a run scored. Wood went 1-for-2 and scored a run, and Kelsey Wilson had a walk and a run.

Next up for Belgreen is a first-round game in the state tournament against North-Central runner-up South Lamar on Wednesday morning at 9 a.m. at Montgomery’s Lagoon Park. The Lady Bulldogs have grown accustomed to winning, and they don’t plan on stopping now.

“It’s been a long time coming,” Scott said. “It’s time to bring that Blue Map home.”

Other first-round matchups in the Class 1A state tournament (also set for Wednesday at 9 a.m.) will be South Regional champion Brantley against South-Central runner-up Isabella; South-Central champion Sumiton Christian against South runner-up Sweet Water; and North-Central champion Addison against North runner-up Waterloo.

In related news, this year’s Class 1A, Area 13 softball team, as voted on by the five head coaches, was released on Saturday. All-Area selections include: From Tharptown, catcher Shaylee Wieting, pitcher Olivia Ergle, pitcher/second baseman Taylor Cameron, first baseman Ameliah Dawson; from Vina, Abby Hester, Kaitlyn King, Sarah Johnson; from Phillips, Lexie Dishner, Lexie Hajjar, Amber Markham; and from Belgreen, shortstop Sydney Borden, second baseman Emmie Scott, outfielder Camie Terrell, first baseman Cortny Williams, catcher Kaycee Wilson.

The coaches selected Emma Dempsey, Belgreen’s freshman pitcher, as area Player of the Year. Chris Scott was voted Coach of the Year.

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