By Brandon Speck
AMORY – Last time this happened, most of these Lady Panthers were in diapers. Their three seniors may have still been clinging to pacifiers.
Amory (29-5)swept defending champ Corinth on Tuesday, 4-0 and 14-5, to advance to Saturday’s Class 4A state championship series, its first such trip since winning it all in 1999.
“We’ve had those three seniors for six years,” seventh-year Amory coach Chris Pace said. “They may have led better tonight than they have in six years. We had some success early and I don’t think we ever let off.”
Senior Bailey Boyd opened and closed Game 1 with diving catches in left and Amory’s offense caught up with its defense in the clincher.
The Lady Panthers scored four in the first inning of Game 1, two on singles from senior Josie Booth and Erin Griffith, and Corinth (23-9) stranded two runners in five different innings.
“We didn’t play our best game,” said Corinth coach Janna LaBarreare. “That’s what it takes at this point. We were 12 innings in and had had one run on the board. We played pretty good defense, but you’ve got to score runs.”
Amory flashed its bats in the third and sixth innings of Game 2, scoring 10 combined runs on 12 of its 18 hits.
Booth and Aynslee Willis homered in Game 2. Senior Bailey Oswalt was 3-for-5 with two doubles and two RBI. Boyd doubled twice and drove in three.
“Hitting is very contagious and our team, we feed off of positive energy,” Oswalt said.
Corinth, the two-time North champions, scored three in the fifth on three Amory errors and an RBI double from Colby Cox.
Savannah Nelson improved to 29-5 for Amory. Corinth sophomore Allie Jacobs closes the year at 23-8.
“We played outstanding defense both games,” Pace said. “Just proud of them.”