By Jonathan Deal
Athens finished runner-up at the Florence Soccer Challenge Tournament over the weekend, a year after winning the 12-team tournament.
Athens won its group with wins over Albertville and Mars Hill Friday. Athens beat Decatur to advance to the knockout rounds Saturday morning.
In the semifinals, Athens edged out host Florence in a shootout. After being tied 1-1 after regulation and overtime, the game was decided in the sudden-death round of penalty kicks.
Athens lost 3-0 to Fort Payne in the final.
East Limestone also had a strong showing the tournament held Friday and Saturday at Florence High School and the Florence Sports Complex. The Indians went 2-1, but failed to earn a wildcard berth and advance to the semifinals.
Dilan Sayer scored a hat trick in a 3-0 win over Muscle Shoals to start the tournament. Sayer scored two more in a 3-1 win over Buckhorn Friday night. Michael Jarrell scored the opening goal for East.
A loss to Ft. Payne cost the Indians a chance to advance to the knockout rounds.
Athens opens area play against at-home Cullman Thursday. East Limestone hosts Grissom at 5 p.m. Thursday.
East Limestone split a pair of games Saturday afternoon against Decatur and Madison County. East lost 10-1 to Decatur before responding with an 11-4 win over Madison County later in the day.
Decatur out hit the Indians 11-3, including two hits each from William Woller, Jackson Fite, and Cody Locklin.
East Limestone's three hits came from Hunter Waites, Cal Sandlin and Cameron Turner. Hunter Waites had the only RBI for East. The Indians reversed their hitting performance from earlier in the day by pounding out 13 hits and 11 runs led by Waites’ three-run homer.
Bobby Foster added a two-run homerun and Turner, Austin Haataja, Sandlin and Ben Rhodes each added two hits apiece.
East travels to Austin Thursday for a doubleheader beginning at 4:30 p.m.
Athens Bible and Ardmore split a pair of games in the Decatur Invitational softball tournament. Ardmore defeated Westminster Christian 3-0, thanks to a big game from Stratton Hobbs. Hobbs had a pair of RBI-singles and scored the winning run for the Tigers.
Athens Bible beat Decatur Heritage 6-5 before being eliminated with a 2-0 loss to James Clemens.
ABS won its season opener last week in an 8-4 victory over Elkmont last week. Anna Price hit a two-RBI single to center to open the scoring before Elkmont rallied to tie the game 4-4 in the third inning. Carson Fielder’s RBI single to center scored the go ahead run for ABS in the fifth inning.
Clements also won its opener last week 10-2 against Tanner. Karlie Turner led the way with three singles and three runs. Daraisha McCollough had a three-RBI homerun and Amber Alexander added a two-RBI single.
Marissa Barnes allowed three hits and struck out nine in seven innings.