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Regional tournament end of road for Totally Awesome

By By Michael S. Hill
Advance Staff Writer
Atmore's 12-and-under All-Star softball team, Totally Awesome, traveled to Swansboro, N.C., to compete in the Babe Ruth Softball Southeast Regionals last weekend. Totally Awesome went 1-2 in the double elimination tournament, falling 2-0 to Florida in the last game.
In the game against Florida, Awesome pitcher Taylor Pierce threw a complete game and allowed just two runs, both unearned, on four hits with seven strikeouts. But Florida's ace pitcher shut out Awesome out and allowed just one hit.
Florida got an run early, in the bottom of the second, as their leadoff hitter reached on an error. A walk and a single later, the runner scored. Florida scored another run in the fifth without the benefit of a hit. Two Awesome errors allowed the runner to score.
Awesome's only hit came from the bat of Emily Wiggins in the top of the second.
Totally Awesome threatened in the fifth inning. Lori Bonds and Kim Holland drew back-to-back walks to start the inning. Two outs later, runners were at second and third, but a groundout ended the inning.
Totally Awesome faced off with South Carolina in their first tournament game, losing a hotly contested 9-6 battle. South Carolina built a large, early lead and then held off a late Awesome surge for the victory.
After a scoreless first inning, South Carolina broke out for two runs in the bottom of the second inning. Awesome responded with one run in the top of the third as Heather White raced home to make the score 2-1.
South Carolina seemed to put the game out of reach in the third inning as they scored seven runs with two outs to go up 9-1. Awesome's normally rock-steady hurler Pierce got loose and walked six, gave up three singles and one four-bagger. But Pierce shook off the inning and buckled down to retire six South Carolina batters in a row over the next two innings.
In the bottom of the fourth, Morgan Marsh, Wiggins and Bonds each drew walks. A Heather White grounder scored Marsh to make the score 9-2.
After a scoreless fifth inning, Awesome pulled their best Lazarus impression as they rose from the ashes to threaten South Carolina's seemingly insurmountable lead. Kim Holland led off the inning with a walk, and Samantha Smith reach on an error.Wiggins walked, Bonds singled and Heather White walked. Holland, Smith, Bonds and White all scored.
Still in the sixth, Pierce walked and Miller singled. Miller was thrown out running the bases, but Shelly White and Regina Spence drew walks to load the bases. With the bases loaded, two outs away and down 9-6, the winning run came to the plate. But a pop-out ended the threat and the game.
Totally Awesome was entirely impressive as they rebounded in their next game against Tennessee, a 15-4 shellacking.
Awesome was all business from the start. In the bottom of the first, they struck for four runs. Leadoff batter Pierce walked, Smith reached on an error, and Heather Mura slammed a bases-clearing triple. Marsh drew a walk, and Shelly White singled home Mura. A Spence grounder later scored Marsh.
Tennessee fought back for four runs of their own in the top of the second to tie it 4-4. Mura was at it again in the bottom half, though, singling home Miller to give Awesome the 5-4 advantage. Awesome pitcher Marsh shut Tennessee out the rest of the way.
In the third, Awesome blasted Tennessee for six runs to go up 11-4. Shelly White walked to start the inning, and was scored by a Wiggins double. Spence singled to score Wiggins, and Holland singled next. Pierce drew a walk, but was thrown out running the bases. Miller singled to score Spence and Holland. Smith singled next, and Miller and Spence later scored in the inning.
In the fourth, Holland walked and scored on a Pierce double. Pierce later scored on a Smith single to make the score 13-4 Awesome. In the fifth, Bonds singled and Holland walked. Both girls scored off a Miller double later in the inning to put the finishing touches on the 15-4 Awesome victory.
In the three tournament games, Awesome batters struck out only five times.
Here is a list of sponsors who donated money for Totally Awesome's traveling expenses:
Anderson's Tot Shop, Elite Sporting Goods, Thomas Collision Repair, Earle's Custom Door and Window, Atmore Florist, Atmore Carpet, Central Farm Supply, Crystal's Tanning, Bateson Furniture, The Beans Store, Pepsi-Cola, Western Auto, Rite Aid, The Decorating Center, Corner Cleaners, John Deere, Advance Printing, Almost New, Hazel's, Jack's Barber Shop, Al's 5 &10, Optical World, Staff Chevrolet, Escambia Lawn and Rental Center, Inc., Helton's Service Center, South Central Agency, Mooney Diesel, Joey's Furniture, Xerox, Suzanne's Hair Studio, His &Her Style Shop, A.J. Edwards Roofing Co., Huxford Pole and Timber, Diamond Oil, First United Methodist Church, David Gibbs, Jim Johnson, Keith Castleberry, George B. Jones and Hooper Matthews, III.
Totally Awesome team members and coaches would like to send a big "Thank you" to all sponsors.