OXFORD, Ala. — Orange Beach High School’s softball team definitely knows how to finish with a flourish.
Daigle Wilson’s single in the bottom of the seventh inning scored Falyn Beebe from third base, lifting the Makos (31-9) to a 2-1 victory over Mars Hill Bible and earning Orange Beach a second straight AHSAA Class 2A softball championship at Oxford’s Choccolocco Park. In last year’s title game, catcher Ava Hodo ended the state finals with a championship-winning home run.
“Our culture, part of the thing we preach all the time is being gritty,” Orange Beach coach Shane Alexander said. “We didn’t hit it well at times, but when we needed it, they came through.”
The Makos managed only three hits against Mars Hill pitcher Riley Vaughn, but they parlayed a seventh-inning walk, a heads-up base-running play by Beebe and Wilson’s hit into a championship win.
Orange Beach has competed in championship play just two seasons and has two AHSAA Blue Maps to show for it. Both championship wins ended with a walk-off hit.
How have the Makos done it?
“When you’ve got a group like that, it’s not hard, I’ll be honest with you,” Alexander said. “I tell them all the time – I drive the bus, drop them off and say, ‘Good luck, girls.’ They’re a lot of self-motivated girls, (and) they’re a joy to coach.”
Orange Beach took a 1-0 lead in the first inning when pinch runner Ella Ward scored thanks to a walk and Mars Hill throwing error. The Panthers (39-11-1), coached by Mollie Lowry, tied it in the fifth Dylan McDaniel’s RBI bunt single.
Beebe drew a walk to open the seventh inning. Georgia McDonald then laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt, and Beebe raced to third on the play. She slid head-first into third base to slip under Mars Hill third baseman Grace Stanfield’s tag. She then scored on Wilson’s game-winning hit.
“She made the right read, and we just took a chance,” Alexander said. “Sometimes you’ve got to do that. The first through sixth innings weren’t working, so we had to figure something out. It paid off.”
Orange Beach’s KG Favors earned the win, allowing three hits and three walks in seven innings. She struck out eight.
Vaughn struck out seven but walked five after having already pitched eight innings in a victory over G.W. Long earlier Saturday.
Mars Hill was trying to win its second state softball title. The Panthers won the 1A title in 2019.
CLASS 2A ALL-STATE TOURNAMENT TEAM
KG Favors, Orange Beach (MVP); Kaitlynn Robertson, Orange Beach; Daigle Wilson, Orange Beach; Riley Vaughn, Mars Hill Bible; Grace Stanfield, Mars Hill Bible; Marah Bowerman, Mars Hill Bible.