STATE CHAMPS: Hornets roll to softball title!

The Chelsea Hornets softball team capped its magnificent run through the Class 6A postseason in the best possible way – winning a state championship at Montgomery’s Lagoon Park on Friday night.

The Hornets (31-12) knocked off Area 10 foe Oxford for the second time Friday, 3-1, to capture their second state title in the last five seasons. Chelsea won the 5A championship in 2012.

The title game was knotted at 1-1 going into the last inning, but senior third baseman Mallory Bradford broke the tie in a big way, blasting a two-run homer over the left field fence for the winning margin. Bradford’s homer brought home Allie Miller, who had singled earlier in the inning.

The Hornets – led by pitcher Sarah Cespedes – made that advantage stand up by retiring the Yellow Jackets (43-15) in order in the bottom of the seventh to secure the game and the championship.

Alex Smithson had three hits, including a double, while Tristan Ziannis had two hits. Mallory Heisler added a double in the win, and Lexi Preisendorfer had an RBI single in the fourth inning to tie the game at 1 apiece. Cespedes allowed just four hits and was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player

Chelsea finished a perfect 4-0 in Montgomery en route to the title. The Hornets also rolled through regionals a week earlier, going a perfect 3-0 in Tuscaloosa to earn a spot in Montgomery.