Orange Beach Wins State 2A Title on Seventh Grader End-of-Game Circuit
By Josh Bean | For the AHSAA
OXFORD – The Orange Beach High School girls’ softball team ended its first season in a memorable way. Makos seventh grader Ava Hodo threw a spectacular two-run home run late in the ninth inning, propelling Orange Beach to a 3-2 victory over Pisgah in Thursday’s Class 2A Championship game at the softball stadium of Choccolocco Park. Hodo’s teammates assaulted her at home plate as she finished first year of school with a state championship.
“I just wanted to hit a practice line to start my team and start something,” Hodo told AL.com after the game. “To go out is something you dream of. I’m so excited. I’m just over the moon. At the first of the year, Coach told us he was going to throw us in the deep end to see if we could swim. Turns out we could really do it.
Orange Beach High School was opened in the seaside town in August 2020 after nearby Gulf Shores created a municipal school system following the separation of public schools in Baldwin County.
The Makos (35-9) claimed four straight wins at this week’s 2A State Tournament and knocked out mighty Pisgah – a program with 10 titles, all since 2001 – in the championship round.
Orange Beach took a 1-0 lead in the first inning when Teagan Revette walked in and then scored on a passed ball, and Pisgah equalized in the second when Karlee Holcomb made a Hannah Duncan home single. Makos pitcher Justine Henderson and Pisgah pitcher Piper Anderson then took control until the ninth inning.
In the fifth, Orange Beach appeared to take the lead when Falyn Beebe scored during Henderson’s flyover to the right. But Beebe was called up for leaving third too early on her tag-up, leaving the game at 1-all.
Things stuck until the ninth when Pisgah’s Holcomb passed the center-field fence to score Duncan for a 2-1 lead. In the bottom of the ninth, Daigle Wilson of Orange Beach managed a one-out walk, and Hodo followed with his late-game homerun.
“The coach told us it was like the icing on the cake to get here,” Hodo said. “Now that we’re champions it’s like we’ve just added so much glitter and candles and everything. I know it’s the best feeling ever. It is something that I will never forget.
To learn more, visit the Alabama High School Athletic Association website at: AHSAA.com.