Hornets start strong at state softball tournament.

The Chelsea High School softball team continued its strong postseason run Thursday by winning its first two games at the Class 6A state tournament in Montgomery to advance to the winners’ bracket semifinal.

The No. 2-ranked Hornets (22-8) won their opening game Thursday morning against Dothan by a score of 6-2 before returning to the field later in the evening and dispatching top-ranked Southside, 6-3.

In the win over Dothan, Alex Smithson led the way at the plate with three hits, while Allie Miller had two hits – including a home run – and drove in three runs. McKenzie Bryant and Tristan Zianis added two hits apiece, while Bryant drove in a run. Mallory Bradford, Lexi Preisendorfer, Mallory Heisler and Bailey Coyne had one hit each. Preisendorfer also had two RBIs.

Sarah Cespedes threw the complete game and got the win, allowing five hits and striking out nine over the seven innings of work.

The win over Southside saw Miller record three hits, while Smithson had two hits and drove in two. Coyne had a two-run double, and Cespedes once again went the distance, scattering nine hits and allowing just one earned run.

The victory pushed the Hornets into the semifinals of the winners’ bracket, one win away from reaching the championship round. It was also the fifth straight win for Chelsea, which stormed through last week’s 6A North Central Regional, winning all three games it played and outscoring opponents 22-4 in the process.

Friday’s semifinal opponent will be Oxford, an area opponent and familiar foe for the Hornets. First pitch is slated for 10:30 a.m., but rainy weather in the state has the potential to postpone games.

You can follow the Hornets’ progress by following the team (@c_h_softball) or school (@CHHSHornets) Twitter pages. Live stats are also available at the following link: Live Stats