Special to the Journal
FULTON – Itawamba head softball coach Andy Kirk and his Lady Indians went through a range of emotions Saturday.
Ultimately, Kirk and the Lady Indians could be in a celebratory mood, winning Game 3 of their playoff series with the East Central Lady Warriors 8-4, and advancing in the MACJC playoffs.
“We started the day excited about our win Friday, then it was heart ache after losing the first game today,” said Kirk, whose Lady Indians dropped a 5-3 decision to begin Saturday. “And then it was exhilaration at winning two games in this series.”
With the win, the Lady Indians (37-11) earned the chance to host the state tournament, which begins Thursday. Times have not been set for the double-elimination tournament, but Itawamba will face Gulf Coast, and Pearl River will face Jones County.
On Saturday, Itawamba had to face workhorse East Central pitcher Kendra Wilson, who started all three games against the Lady Indians. In Game 3, ICC jumped out to a 5-0 lead through three innings.
Emilee Henderson from Tishomingo County began the scoring for the home team in the first with a two-run double. The Lady Indians scored three more in the third.
The hard-hitting Lady Warriors (33-16) scored runs in the fourth, fifth, and sixth innings, but Itawamba was also adding insurance runs at the same time. Kory Watterson had an RBI single in the fourth, and the Lady Indians were able to draw two bases-loaded walks in the fifth.
“Emilee Henderson’s double in the first inning was big, getting us it of the chute with the lead,” Kirk said.
“We gave up a lot of singles, but they were not extra base hits, and our pitching did a good job.”
In Game 3, Friday winner Hannah Johnson got the start, with Cara Hopper coming on in the sixth.
In the series Game 2 Saturday, ICC started off quick on a first inning two-run home run by Watterson. Central rallied with runs in the second, third, and sixth innings, covering the RBI single by Hopper in the third.