Beulah softball advances to state tournament

Published 7:30 am Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Leading by one in the bottom of the seventh, the Beulah softball team had a chance to go somewhere it had never been before— the AHSAA State Softball Tournament. Bobcats junior pitcher Katie Morris finished the inning in 14 pitches, striking out the side.

As the final out was recorded, the Bobcats rushed the mound in celebration— they were moving on to Oxford with a 1-0 win against Piedmont.

“It’s amazing. I’m excited for the school now,” head softball coach Stan Peppers said. “I’m proud of the girls. I’m proud of our program. I’m proud of the school. We just hope that everyone enjoys this moment, but we’re not finished yet. This was our second goal. Our first goal was to win the area. Goal No. 2 was to win down here. Now our final goal, we can see it, we just have to go get it.”

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While the ultimate goal of the Bobcats is to win the first state championship in school history, the moment wasn’t lost on the players.

“It just feels really special that we are the first team that’s ever been this far,” sophomore Brandy Phillips said. “We’re making history at our school. I’m glad to be a part of that and a leader in that.”

Like she has for most of the season, Morris led the way for the Bobcats. The junior allowed just four base runners (two walks and a pair of errors) for a complete game no-hitter.

“I just saw Kaite. She’s always been this dominant,” Pepper said. “She gets better when it warms up. I didn’t expect anything less, I really didn’t. I expect this type of performance next week, and she’ll give it to us because she is one of the best pitchers in the state. I’m hoping that this will open other people’s eyes and see that we have some really good talented ball players in this program that are good enough to play at this level and at the next level too.”

She struck out 13 batters in the win, punching out two or more batters in five of the seven innings.

“At the beginning of the season, I guess that I was just nervous. Because I am committed to college, I felt that I needed to be perfect, but it’s [also] kind of a relief [because I can just] play and be comfortable where you’re at,” Morris said. 

Beulah scored the game’s only run in the fourth inning.

With a runner on first, Phillips reached base on a Piedmont throwing error. While the error allowed Phillips to be safe at first, the lead runner was thrown out trying to advance to third on the play. Phillips advanced to second on the out at third.

Phillips stole third on the second pitch of Morris’s at-bat, setting the stage for Morris. The University of West Georgia commit delivered with a fly ball to left field, which was just deep enough for Phillips to score from third.

“That was really big because we were in a hard spot. We weren’t hitting that good and our defense wasn’t on point or anything, but that one hit got the energy up,” Phillips said. “She knew that she did her job and the team knew that she did her job.”

For the Bobcats, Saturday’s regional championship is the first step to gaining statewide respect for the program, something that Peper has talked about in the past.

“You keep working and keep working, respect is going to come to you, and that’s what the girls have done,” Peppers said. “I’m just so proud of them, and just proud to be part of this program.”

Beulah will play Houston Academy in the first round of the 3A State Tournament in Oxford at 10:45 a.m. CT. Win or lose, its next game will be at 2:15 CT.