By Brandon Speck/Monroe Journal
HAMILTON – Nearly six hours of softball ended after 10:30 p.m. Tuesday night with Hatley and its six seniors earning a long-awaited Class 2A North slowpitch title.
An all-Monroe County series, Hamilton won Game 1 9-7 in 10 innings. Hatley took Game 2 17-13 and Game 3 16-13.
Trailing 11-9 in the fifth inning of the finale, Mary Reeves had an RBI double and Kelsey Wilson a two-run double for a 12-11 lead. It was Deanna Wright’s two-run home run that put Hatley ahead for good and Courtney Roberts’ following shot that made it 15-11.
Roberts hit four home runs in the three-game series. The teams combined for 16 home runs and 112 hits.
“Wow,” said Hatley coach Chris George. “That’s a marathon. What can I say? I just can’t tell you how proud I am of the girls.”
Hamilton jumped to a 5-1 lead in the second inning on Christy Willis’ two-run double, Jordyn Jackson’s bases-loaded double and Emily Earnest’s RBI single.
Hatley climbed back as it did in Game 2, scoring five runs in the third inning, the go-ahead on Roberts’ single off the top of the fence that narrowly missed a three-run shot.
Hamilton, trailing 8-5, tied it in the fourth on Taylor Hyland’s two-run single. A Hatley error led to two more runs and Christy Willis’ sac fly made it 11-8 Hamilton.
Hatley cut the lead to 11-9 in the fifth on Katy Duling’s home run, then poured it on.
“For our senior year, words really can’t describe how great it is,” said senior Lesley Hudson. “It’s unreal.”
Game 1 set the tone, going 10 innings and ending with Lexus Jordan’s walk-off two-run shot for a 9-7 Hamilton win. The game featured seven home runs, two from Jordan, one from Earnest, Addie Thompson and Mary Willis. Hatley got long balls from Roberts and Sloan.
With the help of two grand slams, Hatley pulled even in Game 2, coming back from a 9-1 deficit to win 17-13. Hudson’s fourth-inning grand slam capped a seven-run inning to get Hatley within 9-8. Roberts’ grand slam in the bottom of the fifth put Hatley ahead for good and Sloan followed with a solo shot.
“That’s about as intense as I’ve been in,” Hamilton coach Lewis Earnest said. “You can’t let down for a minute with them because all of them can hit and we can get hot any minute too. They just stayed hot a little longer than we did.”