By Jay Tidwell/Special to the Daily Journal
CORINTH – As a pitcher, Stennett Smith has been a key factor in Corinth’s success in fastpitch softball.
On Saturday, the junior was most pleased with what she could do as a batter.
Smith hit 3 for 5 with three RBIs and tossed a complete game for the Lady Warriors as they eliminated North Pontotoc with a series-clinching 13-3 win in six innings in their MHSAA Class 4A playoff series.
It was the ninth consecutive win for the Division 1-4A champions, who defeated North 7-1 in Game 1 on Friday.
Corinth (21-9) advances to face Houston in the North quarterfinals.
“I had a really good day hitting, so that was pretty fun,” said Smith, who bats leadoff. “But the whole team did good. We all got timely hits and were backing each other up.”
Smith had a pair of singles that served as bookends to a six-run opening frame. She led off with a base hit and scored two batters later on a double by Portia Patterson. After Erin Frazier was intentionally walked, Bailee Kramer walked to load the bases. Three more scored after Rebekah Willams was hit by a pitch, and Katie Vandiver and Anna Kayte Webb each walked. Smith then made it 6-0 with a two-run single.
“We had trouble getting out of that first inning,” said North Pontotoc coach Shane Montgomery, whose squad won the 4A state title in 2010 and the North championship last season. “Then after that, we made errors. When you can’t make plays when you’re this far in the playoffs, you’re in trouble.”
North Pontotoc (22-9) rallied for three runs in the top of the sixth. Abby Wilder drew a bases-loaded walk, Tia Davis singled to score a run, and Brittany Seale’s fielder’s choice brought in another to pull within 9-3.
Corinth responded with four in its next at bat to clinch the series.
“In slow pitch, we played for the state championship with basically the same girls, and that got them hungry,” said Corinth coach Janna LaBarreare, who is in her eighth year with the program. “We want to get back there and finish business.”