By Melissa Meador/Monroe Journal
MYRTLE – Getting hot at the right time of the season is nothing new for defending Class 1A state champion Smithville.
The Lady Noles did it at the plate and in the field on Saturday to sweep Myrtle with wins of 13-1 and 2-0 in the second round of the slowpitch softball playoffs to reach the North state finals.
Smithville (20-11) pounded out 17 hits in the first game and showed off on defense to get out of bases-loaded jams twice in the second game.
“They made some adjustments defensively in the second game, and we just had trouble finding the holes,” Smithville coach Jeremy Duke said. “The girls did a great job of playing defense today and an especially outstanding play right there in the middle by Lane Kennedy in the second game. Those plays right there will carry us through the playoffs.”
Three big innings carried the Lady Noles in the first game, plating six in the second, three in the third and four more in the fourth. Leadoff hitter Kennedy and Billie Claire Goode each had a pair of doubles in the win, while Angel Guyton added an inside-the-park home run in the fourth, going 3 for 3 with five RBIs.
Myrtle loaded the bases to score its lone run in the first game with Emily Cook putting the Lady Hawks on the board with her RBI single.
Two big hits
In Game 2, Ashtyn Hensley’s RBI single plated the first run and Claire McNeese added an RBI double in the fifth. Hensley, Goode and Macy McCain all finished the game 2 for 3.
Smithville will host West Union in the North state finals on Tuesday.
“Our girls have been real resilient. They’ve done a good job of playing through our schedule and keeping their heads up,” Duke said. “We try to plan it to peak at the right time, and we had a good day today.”