By Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal
ECRU – It took Arriann Henry two at-bats Tuesday to convince Rosa Fort’s Adriana Crawford not to pitch to her.
Henry belted her 17th and 18th home runs of the season – the second one a grand slam – in the first inning to propel North Pontotoc to a 22-0 three-inning victory against the visiting Lady Lions in the opening round of the MHSAA Class 4A slow-pitch softball state playoffs.
The Lady Vikings later rolled to another abbreviated win, 20-0, to capture the second game of the best-of-three series.
Crawford walked North Pontotoc’s senior first baseman the next three times she faced her.
“I was just looking to get on base, get a good hit and get it going,” Henry said of her first homer, a solo shot over the right-center field fence. “If it goes over the fence, I’m good with that, too.”
North Pontotoc (26-4) will entertain Corinth on Saturday in the state quarterfinals. The state semifinals are scheduled for Oct. 16 and the state finals Oct. 20 in Ridgeland.
Henry’s .615 batting average and 60 RBI is second on the team. Her 18 home runs leads the squad.
Senior shortstop Brittany Seale, the Lady Vikings’ standout catcher in fast-pitch, leads the team with a .640 batting average and 61 RBI. She’s belted 17 homers.
Seale went 4 for 4 in the second game with a three-run homer and an RBI double. The homer came after Rosa Fort intentionally walked Henry.
“It doesn’t matter if (Henry) bats behind me or before me,” Seale said. “We protect each other.”
The Lady Vikings also got a home run from sophomore pinch-hitter Dee Williams – a three-run shot – in the second inning. It was her first home run of the season.
Williams “usually hits more home runs in practice than the other two,” North Pontotoc coach Shane Montgomery said. “As for Henry and Seale, I’ve never had two do what they’re doing in the same year.
“It’s been something to see.”