By Kedrick Storey/Southern Sentinel
SMITHVILLE – Rain halted Game 2 of the Class 1A quarterfinal series with Pine Grove leading Smithville 2-0 on Tuesday. When it resumed Thursday, there were a deluge of runs for both teams before the hosts pulled out an 8-6 victory.
Pine Grove quickly picked up where it left off when Tuesday’s game was stopped. With two batters on and no outs, the visiting Lady Panthers plated three runs. They added two more in the second for an early 5-0 lead.
With Smithville leading the best-of-three series 1-0, things looked to be heading to a decisive Game 3.
But that was before Smithville bounced back with five runs in the bottom of second inning and held on for the series sweep to advance to the North championship series.
“They hit us in the mouth to start the game and our girls just responded,” said Smithville coach Jeremy Duke. “They (Pine Grove) are a great team and they came ready to play. We just came out on top.”
Smithville (19-9) will start a best-of-three series with Vardaman for the Class 1A North title this weekend.
The Lady Seminoles did their damage with two outs in the second. Kyla Ford started the rally with a hit, followed by a walk to Billie Claire Goode. A slap-bunt single by Macy McCain loaded the bases for leadoff hitter Lane Kennedy, who slapped a bases-clearing double off the left centerfield wall to trim the lead to 5-3.
A single by Smithville starting pitcher Morgan Whitehead scored Kennedy and Whitehead later scored on a throwing error at third to knot the game at 5-5.
“We had three chances to get out of it (the inning), but we didn’t and the top of their lineup did damage,” said Pine Grove coach Brad Pounders. “We should have been ahead 5-0. That was the game.”
An Angel Guyton RBI groundout put Smithville ahead 6-5 in the third. Whitehead would help her cause with an RBI single in the fourth and sixth innings. On the mound, after allowing five runs on five hits to start the game, she allowed just two hits and threw five scoreless innings to close out Pine Grove (21-7).