JACKSON – An emotional Andy Kirk stood back and smiled as he watched his West Union Lady Eagles celebrated their series-clinching 7-2 win in Game 2 of the Class 1A State Championship series against the West Lincoln Lady Bears.
Kimberly Jumper broke open a 1-1 game with an inside-the-park home run in a two-run sixth inning before West Union put the game on ice when Julianna Garner, Dani Taylor, Claire Wilkerson, and Jessica Gates each singled and scored in the seventh to lift West Union to the Class 1A state title.
“We struggled through (the second game), giving them a lot of easy outs because we couldn’t hit the ball out of the infield. We knew we were just waiting to explode and Kimberly did it for us like she has the whole season and her whole career,” said Kirk.
In Game 1, the Lady Eagles wasted little time in jumping out to a 10-0 lead, plating five runs in the third and fourth innings as they cruised to a 14-3 win in five innings behind a 3-for-4 performance from April Rollins and a pair of RBI doubles from Claire and Carley Wilkerson.
“I have eight girls that have stuck with me the whole time and worked their tails off,” said Kirk. “They left some tears, some blood, and some sweat on the field and finally all that hard work has paid of them today.”
For Kirk, it was the perfect end to the season and a seven-year career at West Union.
He announced earlier in the season that he would not be returning as head coach next season and his girls rallied around their coach to finish the season on a 15-1 run.
“This is a dream,” said Kirk. “I told them I was going to go out with this group because I have been with them since they were sixth graders. Ever since then we been waiting on this day and it’s so special because every coach wants to go out winning their last game and these girls gave me that opportunity.”