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May 10, 2014

PREP SOFTBALL: Broncos, Eagles fall just short of state bids following regional losses; Addison moving on in Class 1A

CULLMAN — Neither Holly Pond nor Cold Springs could find any offense on Saturday afternoon.

The Class 3A No. 7 Broncos fell to West Morgan 3-0 during a consolation bracket semifinal to end their fine season at 30-11, while the 2A Eagles dropped two heartbreakers to Hale County and Lamar County, 2-1 and 3-2, respectively.

Addison, meanwhile, is headed to state following wins versus Spring Garden (5-2), Collinsville (5-0) and Athens Bible (5-2).

Following a Day 1 loss to Mars Hill Bible, the Green and White needed three straight wins at the North Regional Tournament to earn a coveted spot in the state tournament next week.

They got off to a great start with a nine-inning, 1-0 triumph over Colbert County. Senior Montana Holcombe drove in Adair Gillian on a base hit to collect the win. She also struck out 14 batters in the game.

Unfortunately for Steve Miller’s squad, they could only come up with two hits in the nightcap loss.

“We couldn’t get it going,” the Bronco coach said. “Part of it is the level of pitching in the tournament. Six of those pitchers are as good as you’ll see. It’s tough.”

Holcombe and Preston Marks collected the lone hits for Holly Pond in the loss.

Despite coming up short, Miller said this season was probably the best one he’s ever had with the program. He attributed the success both on and off the field to the players he’s coached.

“They’re a great group of ladies,” he said. “They have really represented the community well. The five seniors have been with me the whole time. They contributed leadership and just showed how to do things the right way. It’ll be really difficult for us to replace them.”

Over in Tuscaloosa and the North-Central Regional Tourney, Patrick West’s Eagle squad suffered the same fate as its rival.

Cold Springs was simply unable to put a big inning together, falling in back-to-back one-run affairs to end its season.

“Whenever you play in those close games, you can look back and say any number of plays could have made the difference,” West said. “We came up a little short today.”

Rilee White was terrific for the Eagles, hurling all 14 frames and scattering only a handful of hits. She also notched a base hit and scored a run.

Kelsey Hester, Haley Freeman and Bailey West each collected two hits on the day, while Savanna Taylor, Taylor Payne, Emily Williams and McKinnley Davis each had one hit apiece.

Cold Springs returns a wealth of starters next season and hopes to be right back where it left off on Saturday night — just one win away from state.

“I like our team going forward into next year,” West said. “We expect big things.”

% The Times’ Jake Winfrey contributed to this report.

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