The experience and the chemistry of the Dothan High School Lady Tigers showed in a big way during their fourth major showdown against their crosstown rivals.
The third-ranked Lady Tigers scored one run in the fourth and two in the fifth to earn a 5-2 win over the No. 2 Northview High School Lady Cougars in the championship game of the Dothan High School Softball Tournament at the Westgate Softball Complex Saturday afternoon.
The loss avenged a painful 3-1 area loss to Northview Tuesday. Saturday’s contest doesn’t officially count in the area standings.
But don’t tell that factoid to the suddenly hot Lady Tigers who swept the tournament winning over Headland (7-3) and Daphne (12-1) in pool play while defeating Charles Henderson 8-2 and Ashford 10-0 during the single elimination tournament.
Northview defeated Rehobeth and Niceville (Fla.) to reach the title game.
Dothan head coach Patricia Ball said being together a familt helped the Lady Tigers (20-3-1) overcome the Northview loss from earlier in the week.
“The unity of this team is incredible,” Ball said. “They made a lot of adjustments to have a new identity after those five (seniors) left last year.”
The Lady Tigers drew first blood in the bottom of the third with a two-out rally against Northview starting pitcher Kate Benton. After sophomore Kasey Cooper singled and Crystal Anderson doubled, Toni Anderson drilled a two-run single bringing home both runners to give Dothan a 2-0 lead.
Northview (18-6) wasted no time rallying as they scored two runs in the top of the fourth. After seniors Mollie Hanson and Jordyn Whiddon each singled and advanced on a wild pitch, Lexie Lee hit a sacrifice fly and Mollie Kelley reached on an error bringing in both runs to tie the game at 2-2.
Dothan scored what proved to be the winning run in the bottom of inning when Suzy McDonald reached on error, advanced to third base on a pair of sacrifice bunts and scored on Hannah Campbell’s RBI single to right-center field.
The Lady Tigers put the game away in the bottom of the sixth when Cooper walked and trotted home on Denise Anderson’s two-run homer to left-center field.
The game was over after 5 1/2 innings due to the 80-minute time limit.
Cooper came on in relief to earn the win on the mound. Dothan starter Audrey Jones pitched three scoreless innings as a starter for the Lady Tigers.
Hopkins said the home run in the bottom of the fifth gave the Lady Tigers some much needed breathing room.
“They walked Coop because they thought she was going to hit a home run. It was great,” Hopkins said.