Emotional sweep: Smithville moves on in playoffs after tornado hits town

By Brandon Speck/Monroe Journal

AMORY – Five days after an EF-5 tornado ripped apart the town of Smithville, the softball team did its part to bring back some sense of normalcy.
In a first round sweep of Coldwater in the Class 1A state softball playoffs, Smithville beat the visiting Lady Cougars 19-0 and 15-0 in a pair of three-inning wins.
Their softball field too damaged to play on, the Lady Seminoles – playing on their on their Monroe County neighbor’s field – saw Lane Kennedy’s three-run inside-the-park home run give them an 8-0 first inning lead.
Three-time defending North champion Smithville will face West Union in the second round beginning Thursday.
“It was pretty emotional in the fact that all these people helped us,” Smithville coach Jeremy Duke said, “people donating money and rallying around the girls. The outreach people have shown is unbelievable.”
Nettleton’s entire team was in the stands with Smithville stickers on their jerseys. Players from Hatley and Amory were there as well as Hamilton coach Jason Cobb.
Fast starts
Smithville struck quickly in the first on RBI singles from Meagan Whitehead and Kami Roberts and RBI groundouts from Kyla Ford and Macy McCain. The Lady Seminoles (19-6) capped the 14-run first inning with RBI singles from Kami Roberts, Breanna Edgeworth, Linsey Lann, Laken Armstrong and Jennie Avery.
Smithville added five runs in the second to end the game, scoring twice on two of six Coldwater errors, two more on a single from Ashtyn Hensley and the final run on an RBI single from Katie King.
Roberts and Whitehead, both of whom lost their houses in Wednesday’s tornado, each held Coldwater without a hit in only the third and fourth games of the season for the Lady Cougars (0-4).
“It really felt amazing to see all the support. Being out here playing Lady Nole softball took our mind off everything back home,” Whitehead said. “It was really good to see the support and we’re so thankful for that.”
In Game 2, Smithville scored six first-inning runs on three errors and two passed balls. In the second, Roberts drove in Whitehead and Edgeworth’s groundout made it 8-0. Armstrong drove in a run for a 9-0 lead and Kennedy made it 10-0 with a two-run single.
Roberts had another RBI single, Lann an RBI double and Avery’s RBI bunt single put her team ahead 15-0.