(Celebration time – Lady Falcons jump for joy after winning 1A State Championship)
By TIM TUTOR
For the second time in three years, the Ingomar High Lady Falcons (with two straight wins over Bogue Chitto) are the 2004 1A State Champions.
After the 28-10 Myrtle girls knocked off West Union in the north half semifinals, and Ingomar eliminated Pine Grove on the other side, the stage was set for the 1A north-half high school slow-pitch softball championship at Myrtle. The 30-8 Lady Falcons won two-out-of-three on Thursday and earned the right, as north half champions to face Bogue Chitto, the south state champions, on Saturday in Jackson.
The Ingomar girls, led by the pitching of Brittni Gilliam and the hitting of Kelly Williamson, Jessica Segar, Heather Deaton, Ashley Hale, Brittney Akers, Molly Gardner, and the unlikely play of Stephanie Dilliard and Natalie Frenn, defeated the Lady Bobcats 7-4 and 6-5 to take the coveted title.
The State Championship
Most thought there would be an Ingomar – Union rematch for the state championship. Although Coach Kidd and his Ingomar girls didn’t really care who they would play, “it was kind of a surprise that Union wasn’t there, because we had heard they were a really good team again this year.” The Lady Bobcats earned their way to the finals, but the Lady Falcons took the 2004 title in two games.
“We played fairly good but didn’t hit the ball quite as well as I was wanting us to.” Ingomar was up 7-0 going into the bottom of the seventh when the Lady ‘Cats scored three runs… too little, too late. “We kind of gave them those four runs.” The Ingomar girls committed three errors.
The dramatic ending
In the second game the Lady Bobcats held a 5-4 lead going into the bottom of the seventh, and if the Lady Falcons weren’t up to a third game, they had to manufacture a couple of runs.
Coach Kidd had counted on two of his seniors (Kelly Williamson and Jessica Seger) all year long, but a pair of eighth graders took the last two at-bats for the state champs.
“They (seniors) have been excellent leaders of this team.” According to Kidd, the younger players on this championship squad have an understanding that they owe the seniors the best opportunity to end their careers like it should be. “and, this is the way the seniors took it when we wound up with the bases loaded with two outs.”
Eighth grader Stephanie Dillard drew a walk to tie the game and leave the bases loaded. Natalie Frenn, another eighth grader, then dropped a blooper right in between the pitcher, home plate, and first base. “You couldn’t have pitched it up into the air any better.” The catcher came out and made a dive for the ball that hit off the end of her glove. Everybody was safe and the winning run had scored.
“You don’t draw it up that way, but it ended up well.”
North half Champs
It took all three games, but the Ingomar girls won two from Myrtle and earned the right to play for the state 1A championship in Jackson on Saturday.
“It wasn’t the prettiest thing in the world,but it came out good,” said Coach Kidd.
Myrtle won the opener 12-1, but the Lady Falcons came back to win the second game 5-3 and, with eight runs in the second inning, won the third game 10-5.