Sardis begins quest for Class 4A title


Kameron Carter and Sardis begin play at the Class 4A state softball tournament in Montgomery Thursday. (Photo by Marc Golden | Gadsden Times | File)


Class 4A, No. 4 Sardis opens the 4A state softball tournament at 9 a.m. Thursday against No. 5 Corner at Montgomery’s Lagoon Park.

The top-five matchup is a rematch of an earlier meeting this season between the Lions and Yellow Jackets and will be quite the test for both teams.

Sardis (35-13-2) went 2-1 at the North Central Regiona last week to reach Montgomery. They rallied to beat Alexandria 10-9 before falling to No. 3 Cherokee County 1-0. In the deciding game of the loser’s bracket, the Lions blasted the Valley Cubs 15-1 to clinch a spot in the state tourney. Sardis hopes to keep the momentum going into Thursday’s matchup. In the earlier meeting this season, the Lions won 5-2 on a walk-off, three-run homer by Kameron Carter.

“It was a really close game,” Sardis coach Mary Beth Gilliland said. “It’s going to take focus and playing as good as we can.”

Carter has been one of the most productive players in The Times’ coverage area this season. She has hit 14 homers, driven in 61 runs and posted a .547 average. The shortstop also is dangerous on the bases, with 19 steals.

Krista Hubbard also is one of the team’s standouts. She has stolen 22 bases to go with a .466 batting average that features 30 RBI and one home run.

In circle, the Lions have two solid options to throw at opponents. Bethany Chamblee is the team’s ace. She is 30-10 with a 2.60 ERA and 130 strikeouts in 241.2 innings pitched. She also does her part at the plate, hitting .407 with one homer and 38 RBI. Madelyn Gazaway also sees action on the mound when Chamblee is not in circle.

Sardis also has Jadie Fobbus and Payton Golden, a pair of players who have played well in the postseason. Fobbus hit a walk-off, three-run double to beat the Valley Cubs in the first game of the regional. Golden led the team with three hits in the second victory over Alexandria.

The Yellow Jackets are a veteran team led by six seniors. Madison McCormack is the team’s primary pitcher. Jordan Entrekin pitches when not playing second base. They also have played a difficult schedule this season, against ranked teams including 6A’s Oak Mountain, Baker and Hewitt-Trussville, 5A’s Scottsboro and Moody and 3A Pisgah.

“I don’t think we have peaked yet,” Gilliland said. “Our first game at regionals was not very good, but after that they got more focused.”

The winner of the Sardis-Corner game will play at 1:30 Thursday against the winner of the Alabama Christian-Central-Florence contest, while the losers of the two games will face off at 7 p.m. Thursday.