By Brandon Speck/NEMS Daily Journal
BALDWYN – Ali Atkins gave Hamilton the spark it needed on Tuesday to win the MHSAA Class 2A North championship.
Hamilton, which swept Baldwyn 9-2 and 9-6, will face Enterprise-Clarke on Saturday in the state finals in Ridgeland. The Lady Lions won titles for coach Lewis Earnest in 2004 and ’09.
Game 2 was tied at 5 in the bottom of the sixth when Atkins doubled in the go-ahead run, the first of four in the inning.
“It took us a while to get the bats cranked up and they gave us a couple of extra chances,” Earnest said. “They just find a way to win.”
Hamilton (25-7) hasn’t lost since Aug. 25.
Baldwyn took a 2-0 lead on Savannah Alexander’s 2-run homer and scored three in the fifth but had only 17 hits in the series. Hamilton had 33.
Jorda Waters went 4 for 6 in the series for Baldwyn which took a 5-3 lead on Paige Wood’s RBI single. Hamilton tied it in the fifth on Myiah Dobbs sac and one of two Baldwyn errors. Both teams had key run-scoring errors.
“The last few innings of the second game, we didn’t hit or play defense. I thought we played well,” Baldwyn coach Jessica Taylor said. “They fought for it. I’m so proud of them, proud to be a part of this team.”
Baldwyn fell to 24-9.
the Atkins plan
Atkins, the starting pitcher, was 5 for 8 in the two games with three RBI. She was a starting eighth grader in 2009 and was in tears after the sweep on the phone with her sister and former teammate Caitlyn, who couldn’t make it because of school.
“It feels to good to be able to go back. It’s been so long,” Atkins said. “We’ve had the potential.”
In Game 1, Hamilton scored six in the sixth inning, two on a single from Cheyenne Logan. Baldwyn took a brief 2-1 lead on Alexander’s sac fly and Maggie Martin’s RBI single.