By Blake Long/Special to the Journal
RIDGELAND – Southeast Lauderdale softball coach Mack Fanning borrowed a phrase from the school’s baseball coach Shay Cooper to share with his team after their Game 1 loss to South Pontotoc on Saturday afternoon.
“Well, the rule says you have to win two games. It doesn’t say which two,” the 19-year veteran told his team after their 15-11 defeat at Freedom Ridge Park.
Cooper’s squad heeded to his words and won Game 3 of the Class 3A baseball state championship last spring, and Fanning’s softball team followed suit on Saturday night.
The Lady Tigers won Game 2 15-14 before claiming the MHSAA 3A state title with a 9-6 Game 3 victory.
“We certainly didn’t know if we were gonna win this thing or not,” said Fanning, who collected the third slow-pitch championship of his coaching career.
“I’m glad to see them be a winner because that’s what it’s all about.” Facing a 14-11 deficit heading to the bottom of the seventh inning of Game 2, the Lady Tigers tied things up on RBI singles by Jasmine Bush and Denisha Knight.
Two batters later, a ground ball got by shortstop Mackenzie Denton to complete Southeast Lauderdale’s comeback and extend the series.
The game-ending error didn’t faze South Pontotoc. It jumped out to an early 4-0 lead in Game 3 thanks to a sacrifice fly by Eden Bowen and two errors that scored Heather Berry and Denton.
Southeast (25-9) responded in the top of the third with a twoout, two-run home run by Nancy Williams and Dori Timms’ RBI double evened the contest. Lauren Yeager’s single scored two runs the following inning to give the Lady Tigers the lead for good over seven hours after the start of Game 1.
The teams combined for 70 runs and 109 hits in the three games. Lindsy Jaggers had eight hits to lead South Pontotoc (24-
“I thought we hit the ball better
today than we’ve hit it all year, but
they just outhit us,” South Pontotoc
coach Adam Patterson said.
“We saved our best for last and
gave ourselves a good shot.”