ACA, LAMP earn trip to state tournament

Alabama Christian Academy won its regional for the eighth time in the 12-year history of the regionals by beating Geneva to earn the program its 23rd trip to the state tournament.

GULF SHORES -- Alabama Christian Academy continued its hot offensive streak, blasting Geneva 10-5 on Saturday morning to earn its 23rd appearance in the state tournament since becoming a fast pitch program in 1996.

The defending 4A state champions, largely overlooked as they struggled through a losing season, have a seven-game winning streak heading into the state tournament after winning the regional title for the eighth time in the 12-year history of regional play.

Haley Ingram went 4 for 4, scoring three runs and driving in three more, to lead the offense. The senior emerged from a postseason slump to raise her batting average back to .530 with 15 doubles, 26 RBIs and 28 stolen bases entering the state tournament.

Izzy Warrick went 3 for 3 with a double and two RBIs and Katie Chappell went 2 for 4 with a double and three RBIs as the Eagles put the game away with a six-run fourth inning.

Warrick and Rose Costanza combined to pick up the win in the circle. Costanza pitched four innings, allowing one run on one hit while striking out five. Warrick pitched three innings, allowing four runs on six hits while striking out five.

ACA (25-19) will face Etowah (32-9) in an opening round game on Wednesday at 9 a.m. The Eagles missed the state tournament in 2016, but since regional play was established in 2009, ACA has finished lower than fourth just once in the state tournament.

Area rival LAMP also earned a berth in the state tournament for the third time in school history, battling back through the loser’s bracket to beat Geneva 5-1 and earn the second state qualifier. LAMP has advanced to postseason play 11 times beginning in 2001, but only made two trips to the state tournament, going two and out in 2015 and losing in the 4A state finals to Curry in 2016.

After losing to Geneva on Friday, the Golden Tigers dropped into the elimination round and defeated Jackson 11-0, Ashford 12-1 and Geneva 5-1 to advance to the state tournament.

In the win over Ashford, Caitlin Russell went the distance, allowing five hits and striking out eight in a game shortened to five innings by the 10-run mercy rule. Russell and Arin Sturdivant had two hits each, while Peyton Cely drove in three runs and Gracey Norris and Halen Herron had two RBIs each.

In the win over Geneva, Russell allowed five hits while striking out 10 and had two hits and an RBI at the plate. Joanna Joiner had two hits and four RBIs to lead the Golden Tigers.

LAMP (29-14) will face Cleburne County (32-10) in the opening round on Wednesday at 9 a.m.

AHSAA STATE SOFTBALL TOURNAMENT

CLASS 4A

Wednesday

Game 1 -- Hamilton (32-20-1) vs. Rogers (43-11), 9 a.m.

Game 2 -- Cleburne County (32-10) vs. LAMP (29-14), 9 a.m.

Game 3 -- Alabama Christian Academy (25-19) vs. Etowah (32-9), 9 a.m.

Game 4 -- North Jackson (36-15-1) vs. Haleyville (29-17), 9 a.m.

Game 5 -- Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 2, 12:30 p.m.

Game 6 -- Loser Game 3 vs. Loser Game 4, 12:30 p.m.

Game 7 -- Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2, 12:30 p.m.

Game 8 -- Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 4, 12:30 p.m.

Game 9 -- Loser Game 7 vs. Winner Game 6, 4 p.m.

Game 10 -- Loser Game 8 vs. Winner Game 5, 4 p.m.

Game 11 -- Winner Game 7 vs. Winner Game 8, 4 p.m.

Thursday

Game 12 -- Winner Game 9 vs. Winner Game 10, 9 a.m.

Game 13 -- Loser Game 11 vs. Winner Game 12, 10:45 a.m.

Game 14 -- 4A finals, 1:30 p.m. (A second game, if necessary, will follow at approximately 3 p.m.)