By Kedrick Storey/Southern Sentinel
PINE GROVE – A first-inning bunt by Smithville’s Meagan Whitehead opened the floodgates.
The bunt became a trip around the bases after Pine Grove third baseman Jordan Ormon’s throw tipped off the glove of first baseman Halley Pannell and skipped down the first base line.
It was a sign of things to come – a bad day for the home team and an offensive onslaught by the visitors.
Smithville won Game 1 of the Class 1A fastpitch quarterfinals series 16-2. The best-of-three will conclude Monday at 5 p.m. in Smithville.
The Lady Seminoles (18-9) scored five more in the first for a 6-0 lead. They would plate 10 more runs over the next two innings.
“It was kind of a trigger for us in the first two innings. We did a good job of putting the bat on the ball,” said Smithville coach Jeremy Duke. “We knew they had a good pitcher and we wanted to attack from the beginning. We still got our work cut out for us. They’re a good team.”
Smithville roughed up Pine Grove starter Jesse Collins (16-4) for nine hits and drew eight free passes. The senior allowed just 11 hits in last week’s sweep of Ingomar. On the other side, Whitehead (12-3), who missed three weeks with a broken hand, allowed just two hits, while walking two and hitting one batter in three innings of work.
“We just got hit in the mouth and we didn’t respond. Sometimes that happens in this sport,” said Pine Grove coach Brad Pounders. “You can’t go down six runs in the first to a good team like that.”
Smithville had five hits in the first inning, including an RBI single from Claire McNeese. Kyla Ford and Macy McCain, who knocked in four runs, had two-RBI singles to round out the first-inning scoring. The Lady Seminoles kept in going in the second with RBIs by Breanna Edgeworth, Angel Guyton and McCain’s second two-run single. Whitehead cleared the bases with a three-run triple for a 14-0 lead.
Pine Grove (21-6) got on the board with two runs in its last at-bat. Angel Guyton, who relieved Whitehead, walked three batters and hit another for one run. A fielding error by Whitehead, who moved to third, led to the other.