By Kedrick Storey/Southern Sentinel
SMITHVILLE – Smithville coach Jeremy Duke was confident his squad would eventually have a good at-bat against Vardaman in Game 1 of the Class 1A North final series.
It took until the bottom of the sixth inning but they eventually did.
The Lady Seminoles scored seven runs on five hits and two errors by the visiting Lady Rams to roar back from a 2-1 deficit and win 8-2. They took a 1-0 lead in the series, which shifts to Vardaman on Monday at 5 pm.
“It had been a pitching and defensive duel the whole game, and I kept saying, hang in there, we’re going to get our inning,” said Duke, who looks to take Smithville to their fourth Class 1A title series in five seasons.
Down a run in the bottom of the sixth, a bunt single by Angel Guyton moved Billie Claire Goode to third base ahead of a RBI single by Kyla Ford that knotted the game at 2-2.
Smithville (20-9) then laid down two more bunts, one each by No. 8 hitter Taylor Ann Boozer and No. 9 hitter Macy McCain. Bad throws to first on both plays allowed Gutyon and Ford to score, leaving Vardaman in a 4-2 hole.
Still batting with one out, Smithville leadoff Lane Kennedy kept the rally going with a two-run single to left. Two batters later, Breanna Edgeworth roped an RBI double, scoring Kennedy after she swiped second. Laken Armstrong, who led off the inning, made it back-to-back doubles to score the courtesy runner for Edgeworth.
When the dust settled, Smithville led by six runs.
“The bottom of the lineup laid down some good bunts to keeping the inning alive for the top. It just escalated from there,” added Duke.
Vardaman, who lost 12 of their first 15 games, including six in a row to start the season, lost for the first time in 13 games.
Coach Billy Dill said the sixth inning hurt, but the difference was a bad day at the plate.
Vardaman (16-13) had two hits and pushed across two runs in the top of the first. That would be their only scoring, as Meagan Whitehead scattered three more hits and threw six scoreless innings, stranding seven runners.
“They did a great job of bunting and we did a terrible job of fielding it,” said Dill. “That hasn’t happened to us in about 13 games, so it was due, but we just didn’t hit the ball.”