CUMBERLAND – After Saturday’s series-clinching victory against Bogue Chitto, a group of five East Webster seniors strolled arm-in-arm from the outfield to home plate.
On Friday, all of the Lady Wolverines will take a familiar trip to the fast-pitch Class 1A state championship series.
Behind a complete-game no-hitter from senior right-hander Jessica Halterman, the host Lady Wolverines blanked Bogue Chitto 7-0 to capture the Class 1A South State crown.
East Webster (21-8) will face Smithville in search of the program’s fourth straight state title.
“This opportunity is one in a million,” said Halterman. “I don’t know too many schools that have the opportunity to do this.”
Halterman got all the run support she needed in the first inning as the Lady Wolverines produced a run without the aid of a hit.
East Webster increased its lead to 4-0 following a two-run third inning and a single tally in the fifth.
For good measure, East Webster plated three more runs in the bottom of the sixth, highlighted by Iyeshia Thomas’ two-run triple.
“The girls worked hard all year and got us to this point again,” said East Webster head coach Bill Brand. “They deserve it. This is a great opportunity and it’s a tribute to them.
Making the most
“We’ve always had a talented bunch but sometimes that bunch haven’t always made the most of their opportunity. But I think it’s safe to say our seniors have definitely made the most of their opportunities.”
Halterman struck out 14 of the 21 batters she faced and allowed just one runner to reach third base.
“She is definitely one of the best we’ve seen all year,” said Bogue Chitto head coach David Leggett. “The other day we put it in play but she got us several times today.
“(East Webster) has won three in a row and I’m willing to bet they make it four in a row. It is definitely no fluke.”
Halterman did allow two walks and both occured in the seventh inning to help the Bobcats (26-7) load the bases. But Halterman struck out the final batter to preserve her second no-hitter of the season.
“It was one of those things where she might not have had the control she normally has,” said Brand. “But sometimes that’s a good thing.”
Thomas had three hits and three RBIs to pace East Webster’s 11-hit attack while Halterman helped her own cause with two hits and two runs scored.
East Webster and Smithville open the Class 1A championship series Friday at Freedom Park in Ridgeland. It will mark the second straight year the two schools have met in the Class 1A championship series.
“They are a good ballclub and we were fortunate to win two games last year against them,” said Brand of Smithville. “Any play goes another way and it might have been Smithville winning a pair of one-run games. So it will be a challenge again.”
Paul Jones/Special to the NEMS Daily Journal