By Melissa Meador/Monroe Journal
HATLEY – Last year, Hatley was responsible for ending Hamilton’s slowpitch softball season a game shy of making the 2A state championship series.
Hamilton returned the favor on Saturday, beating Hatley 14-2 in five innings to keep the Lady Tigers at home for the playoffs.
The win by the Division 1-2A champions gives Baldwyn, which split its season series with Hatley, the second playoff spot.
“I think they remember it from last year,” said Hatley coach Chris George, whose team launched six home runs. “They’re a very good team, and I don’t know if I’d call it a rivalry this year because they handled us pretty well both times we played them.”
Hamilton got off to a hot start in the first inning with Alison Atkins, Cheyenne Logan and Mary Willis all hitting solo home runs.
Hatley added its only two runs in the bottom of the inning with Courtney Roberts’ two-run home run to shrink the lead to one, but Hamilton took control from there, scoring six in the second and four more in the fourth.
Taylor Hyland and Addie Thompson both had RBI singles in the second, while Logan hit her second home run of the game, a three-run shot. In the fourth, Mary Willis and Thompson both singled, and Christy Willis walked to set up a grand slam from Myiah Dobbs. Atkins later added another solo homer to complete the scoring.
“They’re always going to play hard against Hatley, no matter what the situation, because of that strong county rivalry,” Hamilton coach Lewis Earnest said. “I think we’ve been hitting the ball real well this week though. I think it’s all about confidence. We work mostly on hitting in practice and hit a lot of long balls, so it gives them the confidence to know when they get out here they can do it.”
Hamilton will play host to Simmons in the first round of the 2A playoffs on Tuesday while Baldwyn will travel to Riverside.