By Melissa Meador/Monroe Journal
RIDGELAND – Hamilton hadn’t lost a softball game since Aug. 25. The Lady Lions didn’t want that streak to end in Saturday’s MHSAA Class 2A slow-pitch softball state championship series.
Hamilton pounded out 13-7 and 9-5 wins to sweep South champion Enterprise-Clarke for its first state title since 2009.
“This feels amazing. I was on the state championship team in 2009, and I never imagined it could happen again for us,” said pitcher Alison Atkins, one of five juniors that make up the core of Hamilton’s lineup.
Down 2-0 after the first inning in Game 2, Hamilton (27-5) responded by putting all nine runs on the board in the top of the second inning.
Thompson and Myiah Dobbs hit back-to-back singles with one out and Bryan knocked Thompson home with her single. Hallie Dobbs drew a bases-loaded walk that sent a run home and Atkins followed her with an RBI single. Hyland hit an RBI double and Christy Willis tripled a run home and crossed the plate herself on a throw in from the outfield.
Atkins sets ’em down
For Enterprise-Clarke (19-13), Emmalee Roberts went 2 for 3 with a double in Game 2, while Jess Turner’s triple plated both Lady Bulldogs’ runs in the first. Enterprise added two runs in the sixth, but Atkins retired the side in the seventh for the win.
In Game 1, the Lady Lions scored three runs in the fourth and four runs in the sixth to secure the win. In the fourth inning, Christy Willis knocked in a run on an RBI single and Addie Thompson added an RBI double after Cheyenne Logan and Mary Willis led off with back-to-back doubles.
Thompson added an RBI single in the sixth and Taylor Hyland sent two runs home on her single. Jordyn Jackson also had an RBI single in the inning.
The championship marks the third for Hamilton coach Lewis Earnest in slow-pitch softball. Earnest guided the Lady Lions to titles in 2004 and 2009.
“Winning a state champion-ship is just something you can’t understand until you do it,” Earnest said. “It’s something these girls will remember all their lives, and they’ve earned it this season.”