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Linden “Angels” advance to state finals

MONTGOMERY–After play Monday at the state 9-and-10-year-old Dixie Softball “Angels” All-Star tournament in Montgomery, only two teams were left standing. And one of them was Linden’s.

Linden’s Angels defeated Sand Mountain Monday night for the second time in the tournament, 7-5, eliminating Sand Mountain and earning Linden the chance to play for a state championship.

That championship will not come easily at all, as Linden will have to go through Hueytown, the same team that defeated Linden 14-4 earlier in the tournament. Hueytown is a perfect 4-0 in the tourney, and to win the state title Linden will have to beat them in back-to-back games Monday night, the first scheduled for 6 p.m.

Making things even more difficult for Linden is that two of their best pitchers, Marti Breckenridge and Ally Vick, worked extra innings Monday and will be unavailable. To hear Linden coach Dennis Breckenridge tell it, though, the outcome of Tuesday’s game almost doesn’t even matter by this point.

“To say I’m proud of this team would be an understatement,” he says. “We weren’t even supposed to win the District. This is a group of amazing young children…Runners-up in the entire state is still pretty good, I’d say.”

Unlike Linden’s first game with Sand Mountain, when Linden had to mount a last-inning rally to overcome a 3-0 deficit to win 4-3, this time it was the Linden Angels holding on at the end of the game. Linden had taken a first-inning 1-0 lead before Sand Mountain took their own lead at 3-1.

But Linden got a series of, in Breckenridge’s words, “timely hits” to take advantage of Sand Mountain walks. Linden scored a total of six runs in the middle innings to head into the sixth ahead 7-3, and when Vick held Sand Mountain’s desperation rally to only a pair of runs Linden had advanced.

Breckenridge and Vick split the pitching duties nearly evenly, Breckenridge going 2 and 2/3 innings and Vick 3 and 1/3.

The championship game is begin held Tuesday after a major rain delay Saturday night pushed the tourney schedule back a day.

The Linden Angels All-Stars are Nicole Parten, Alexia Johnson, Sara Jones, Conner Etheridge, Hollie Pritchett, Felesia Dukes, Taylor Barley, Chandler Stenz, Ally Vick, Marti Breckenridge, Katie Tucker, and Brooke Smyly. They are coached by Dennis Breckenridge, Rusty Vick, David Wiggins, Erin Fodness, and Greg Parten.