By Jay Tidwell/Special to the Journal
ECRU – Katie Denton wears jersey No. 13, but she’s become North Pontotoc’s good-luck charm.
After hitting the game-winner last Saturday to clinch their second-round series against Houston, Denton popped a two-run triple in the sixth against Kosciusko on Thursday that helped the defending Class 4A fast-pitch state champs come from behind and eventually pull out a 6-5 win in extra innings of Game 1 of the North championship series.
“We were down 5-0, and we pulled through and did it,” said Denton, a right-handed hitting eighth grader, about Thursday’s late-inning rally. “This year, people didn’t expect us to win and didn’t expect us to go to state, but we’re proving that we can do it.”
The series will be decided on Saturday in Kosciusko.
The Lady Vikings (27-4) had managed only two hits through the first five innings against Lady Whippets starter Kaitlin Young (17-7). After two walks and a pair of errors in the sixth, Brianna Gable drove in two runs to edge within 5-3. Then Denton’s two-out hit to left scored two more to tie it at 5-all.
“For five innings we couldn’t get anything going at the plate, and our fielding wasn’t very good, to say the least,” said North Pontotoc coach Shane Montgomery. “But we found a way, and we’re still kicking. Maybe we’ve got one more in us.”
In the bottom of the eighth, Brittany Seale, who started at second base under the tie-breaker rule, advanced to third on a bunt by clean-up hitter Courtney Quillian. Arriann Henry followed with a liner to shortstop that was bobbled, and Seale ran home for the win.
“To their credit, when we kicked the ball, they got the hits,” said Kosciusko coach Tony Terry. “That’s why they’re the state champions.”