BY BRANDON SPECK
SMITHVILLE – Smithville small-balled its way one step closer to a fastpitch state semifinals appearance Thursday night against West Union.
On Saturday, a 14-7 win propelled it to this weekend’s North title best-of-three series against Houlka.
The Lady Seminoles (24-2) finished with nine hits in a 4-2 win in Game 1 of the Class 1A quarterfinals best-of-three series. Five of those were bunt singles.
“A lot of small ball,” said Smithville coach Jeremy Duke. “You’ve got to give (West Union) credit. They came out ready to play. They did most of the little things right. A couple mental errors on their part and we found a way to win.”
Her team trailing 2-0 after two innings, Smithville catcher Kelsi Watson singled to open the inning and with two outs, Whitney Fears’ bunt single put runners at first and third. Lakin Wigginton’s bunt single scored Watson from third and an alert Fears from first as the ball found its way through the right side of the infield. Wigginton took second on the throw home.
The little things the Lady Eagles (15-7) didn’t do right cost them.
Smithville took a 3-2 lead when Lynndon Northington reach on the first of three West Union errors. Wigginton scored from second when the throw sailed into the Smithville dugout.
Smithville added its fourth run an inning later on the Lady Eagles’ second error. Watson flew out to centerfield, but Meagan Whitehead scored from second base after the throw in to third was overthrown.
“We feel like their runs were unearned. We had too many errors,” West Union coach Lisa Bogue said. “You can’t do that against a team like Smithville, because they will take advantage of it. We knew that coming into it.”
West Union took a 2-0 lead on its only two hits of the game, early RBI singles from Kimberly Jumper and Claire Wilkerson. Smithville pitcher Kami Roberts (20-2) then held the Lady Eagles hitless through four innings, striking out six for the game. Northing struck out two in relief in the fourth.
Dani Taylor (14-6) took the loss for West Union.
Despite West Union’s mistakes, Duke was proud of how his team responded to them.
“We fake a tag. The ball gets away and we score. That’s taking advantage of their mistakes in my opinion,” he said.
Saturday at West Union, Smithville pounded out 14 runs on 11 hits in a 14-7 win, three of them from Kami Roberts. Meagan Whitehead had two hits and Tiffanie Nantz doubled.