Mars Hill Bible wins 2019 AHSAA 1A State Softball Title

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 Mars Hill Bible High School’s Lady Panthers softball team closed out the 2019 AHSAA State Softball Championships Saturday night with a 7-6 win over defending state champion Brantley.
    The AHSAA crowned seven state champions in its State Softball Championships held at Lagoon Park.
    The Panthers (40-11) of Coach Matt Burgess rolled through the winner’s bracket undefeated – beating Brantley 5-0 in the second round of the winner’s bracket Friday. The Bulldogs (42-12) stormed through the elimination bracket to get to the finals, then beat Mars Hill 9-8 to set up the showdown with the Panthers in the “if necessary” game which concluded after 10 p.m.
    Mars Hill collected seven runs off 14 hits and held off Brantley for the Class 1A state title. The Panthers scored all seven runs in the first four innings. 
    After allowing Brantley to score four runs in the first two innings, Mars Hill pitcher Riley Vaughnsettled in and kept the Bulldogs offense at bay. Trailing 7-5 in the final inning, Brantley got a solo home run by Hannah Sims, but could get no closer. 
     The Panthers broke a 4-4 tie with two runs in the top of the third inning to take the lead for good. RBI singles by Grace Stanfield and Kylie Thigpen gave Mars Hill a 6-4 lead and never trailed again. Emma Pettus was 4-for-4 in the championship game. Stanfield and Thigpen each finished with two hits and two RBIs for Mars Hill. Vaughn worked all seven innings to get the win in the circle. Brantley, coaches by Cindy Hawthorne, was led by Olivia Jones, who went 3-for-4 with an RBI. Emory Bush had  two hits and drove in two runs.
    Mars Hill Bible’s Erika Mitchell was selected Class 1A State Tourney MVP. Also named to the 1A All-State Tourney Team were Grace Stanfield and Riley Vaughn of Mars Hill and Emory Bush, Kayden Dunn and Olivia Jones of Brantley.
    The softball title gave the Florence school a sweep in Montgomery. The Mars Hill Bible baseball team also won a state championship at Riverwalk Stadium earlier in the week.


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