By Kim West
Athens High School jetted through the first-ever James Clements Softball Tournament held last weekend in Madison, posting a 5-0 record and claiming the championship on March 8.
Using a dominating, three-pitcher rotation of Rebekah Morris, Emily McNairy and Brianna Caldwell, Class 5A Athens opened tournament play on March 7 with three games, including a 3-0 exhibition victory against 4A Central-Florence.
Athens beat 3A West Morgan 10-0 and 4A Priceville 15-0 during the 12-team field, which included fellow Limestone County teams Clements and East Limestone.
The Golden Eagles, managed by first-year coach Travis Barnes, dispatched county archrival East 9-3 on March 8 before advancing to the semifinals to face 6A James Clemens.
In a 7-1 semis’ victory against the tournament host, Caldwell smoked a three-run home run off Jets pitcher Emily Jacklin in the second inning. McNairy, who also belted a solo homer, earned the pitching win.
Caldwell, a UNA signee and an Applebee’s/WKAC Player of the Week nominee, took the mound in the finals, hurling Athens to the 6-1 victory against West Morgan.
Sophomore catcher MaKayley Cain picked off Caroline Payne during the James Clemens game and demonstrated her power at the plate with a two-run HR against West Morgan on Friday.
The Golden Eagles, which lost a 4-3 squeaker to Lawrence County in Monday’s area opener, are playing in the Hartselle High School tournament this weekend.