Special to the Journal
The Itawamba Lady Indians have finally won a softball game in the post-season.
Not stopping there, the Lady Indians won their playoff series last weekend against East Central.
And head coach Andy Kirk certainly hopes that positive momentum continues in the coming days as the Lady Indians prepare to host the MACJC State Tournament running Friday through Sunday.
“I was very pleased with the way the team was able to be resilient,” Kirk said. “After winning our first state tournament game, we wanted to finish off the series.
“But after losing Game 2, they fought through against a good East Central team. But it’s going to be that tough throughout the playoffs.”
Play in the double elimination State Tournament begins Friday with Itawamba (37-11) versus Gulf Coast (33-16) at 4 p.m. That will be followed by Jones County (43-2) versus Pearl River (26-16) at 6 p.m.
If ICC wins, it will play at 1 p.m. Saturday, while a loss puts them in the 3 p.m. contest.
“Gulf Coast has a lot of team speed, and run the bases well,” Kirk said. “And they pitch well and play defense.
“It is a totally different challenge than East Central..”
Kirk feels the Lady Indians pitching will need to step up to meet the Gulf Coast challenge. Itawamba’s two main starters are Hannah Johnson from Branson, Mo., and Montana Hawkins from Sulligent, Al. Cara Hopper from Caledonia adds depth to the rotation in most series.
At the plate, infielder Kat Carver is coming off a 5 for 8 effort against East Central, good enough to have the sophomore named a MACJC Play of the Week. Kory Watterson DeSoto Central had a home run in Game 2 against Central, while Emilee Henderson from Burnsville had three hits in Game 3.
“When we struggled Saturday, we struggled at the bottom of our lineup,” Kirk said. “Our five through nine hitters need to find ways to get on base.”
Of note, the recent weather in the area had a bit of an effect on the visiting teams for the tournament. Jones County was booked in the damaged Comfort Inn and Suites, and Gulf Coast had not been able to contact its hotel as of Tuesday.