By Melissa Meador
SMITHVILLE – Hamilton coach Bryan Loague had a talk with senior pitcher Cheyenne Logan after a wild win over rival Smithville in the first game of the Class 1A North state softball series on Friday.
The advice worked as Logan struck out five in Hamilton’s 11-6 win on Saturday to sweep the series and reach its first state championship series since 2009.
“In a big situation, Cheyenne made the pitches. That’s what you expect out of your senior,” Loague said. “She had a good mindset coming into today.”
Logan complimented her team’s focus in finishing the sweep.
“I think winning last night gave us the momentum,” she said. “We kept it going today.”
Hamilton took advantage of some early Smithville miscues but also pounded out 10 hits, six of them by the bottom three in our lineup.
“Yesterday, coach Loague told all of us to have the mentality when we went up to the plate that we weren’t going to get out,” said senior cleanup hitter Alison Atkins, who was on base four times. “It’s exciting because it’s our first time to make it as starters.”
Smithville (26-9) had the momentum early after Katie Beth Williams’ three-run blast in the first inning, but Hamilton (20-8) countered with a five-run second, highlighted by Taylor Brock’s two-run shot.
A double from Angel Guyton and an RBI single from Lane Kennedy cut the lead to one in the bottom of the inning.
In the third, the Lady Lions scored three with Taylor Hyland hitting an RBI single and scoring on a wild pitch.
Smithville scratched across a run in the fourth on Williams’ sac fly and in the sixth on Kaitlyn Scott’s RBI single. Angel Guyton had three of their eight hits.
Hamilton added insurance runs in the seventh off Atkins’ double and Hailee Jones’ sac fly.
“We had a lot of errors, and we just couldn’t get away from the mistakes this weekend,” said Smithville coach Jeremy Duke, whose team fell in the North finals for the second-straight year after winning the 2012 title. “It’s just part of the game.”
Hamilton plays the winner of the series between Stringer and Bogue Chitto.