By Melissa Meador
FULTON – It went down to the wire between Amory and Itawamba AHS to see who would come out with a 1-0 start in Division 1-4A play on Thursday night.
In the end, it was a four-run seventh from Amory that sealed its come-from-behind 10-8 division win.
“I feel good about a come-from-behind win anytime, but especially in division play,” Amory coach Chris Pace said. “It’s always a close game every time we come here, and this division is always tough.”
Power-hitting eighth-grader Aynslee Willis gave the Lady Panthers (13-2) an early lead with her two-run homer in the first inning.
Itawamba tied it up in their half of the inning with RBI doubles from Maddie Forrest and Kayla Norris.
Amory leadoff hitter Bailey Oswalt started the third inning off with a double to the center field wall, and Bailey Boyd followed her up with a single. Willis launched her second home run of the game, this one a three-run shot, over the left field wall.
“Aynslee came up huge for us tonight,” Pace said. “When you’re getting intentionally walked as an eighth-grader, that’s respect.”
The Lady Indians came back with two runs in the bottom of the third, which included an RBI single from Neely Grubbs.
Itawamba takes lead
Itawamba used a four-run fourth to take its 8-5 lead. Katelyn Snipes hit a two-run single to score McKenzie Coleman and Jamyia Hill, and Forrest launched a two-run homer to center.
A Carley Westbrook RBI single in the sixth cut Itawamba’s lead to 8-6.
Amory came up with six hits and sent eight to the plate in its seventh-inning comeback.
A leadoff single from Madeline Dean and a walk to Nelson put a pair of runners on for the top of the Lady Panthers’ lineup. Run-scoring singles from Boyd and Willis tied things up, while RBI singles from Erin Griffith and Alex Stevens gave Amory the lead.
“We didn’t make the plays there at the end,” Itawamba coach Rodney Moore said. “Amory is a good team that takes advantage of your mistakes. But I think our team has come a long way since the start of the season.”