NEW ALBANY – A frustrated Brandi Smith came to the plate against Wheeler in the top of the seventh Monday night and the senior ripped a double to the center-field fence to help Myrtle into the Class 1A North State finals.
Myrtle won the second game 6-4 after a 10-7 victory in Monday’s first game.
The series was played at a neutral site due to poor field conditions elsewhere.
Smith, who had been 0-for-3 in the game, delivered what proved to be a game-winning double that pushed across Jenna Jordan and Meshay Cox.
“She was down because they had her number all night long. I told her to go up there and knock the soup out of the ball and she did,” said Myrtle coach Robert Gordon. “It was a big, big hit that helped us in the end.”
Earlier in the inning, Rhagen Hopper walked and scored when Cox reached on an error.
Wheeler rallied in the bottom half of the seventh when Mallory Michael reached on a one-out error and scored on a single by Hilary Glover, but the Lady Eagles failed to push across a pair of base runners in the inning.
Jordan finished 2-for-4 and reached on a pair of errors while Kiana Judon had a pair of singles for Myrtle (19-7). Michael went 3-for-4 and reached on an error while Glover and Brooke Jones each had a pair of singles for Wheeler.
“We played several games this year where we’ve left bases loaded because we could never get any big two-out hits, but tonight we got several two-out hits and I credit the girls for getting us those breaks,” Gordon said.
In Game 1, Wheeler jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the second inning, but the Lady Hawks answered with a two-run third and six-run fifth inning to pick up the 10-7 victory.
Jordan went 4-for-4 with two singles, a double, and a triple to drive in three runs and score two more. Hopper finished 3-for-4 with a pair of singles and a double accounting for one RBI and one run scored.
Michael and Thompson each had a double and single for Wheeler.
Up next for the Lady Hawks will be West Union in the Class 1A North State Championship series. That’s scheduled to be held at West Union today at 4 p.m., but the current field conditions could see the game moved back to New Albany.
“I never would have imagined we would be here,” said Gordon. “Our goal this year was to teach the girls how to win and never give up. The girls have done that and they believe in themselves.”
Myrtle beat West Union 6-5 earlier in the season, but the Lady Eagles rebounded to win twice by a combined 25-0.