By Melissa Meador
HAMILTON – Hamilton second baseman Addie Thompson has been working to bust out of a slump since the start of the slow-pitch softball playoffs.
Thompson’s bat came alive Tuesday as the Lady Lions won the Class 1A North finals with a sweep of county rival Smithville, 5-3 and 9-2, to capture a trip to a second-straight state championship series.
Hamilton (23-7)won Class 2A last season and faces Stringer in the 1A championship series on Saturday in Ridgeland.
“I’ve been looking for answers to how to come out of a slump, and hard work paid off,” said Thompson, who had five hits and two home runs, including the game-winner in the first game.
“She’s put in a lot of hours in the past week, so it’s good to see her come out of it,” Hamilton coach Bryan Loague said. “I think we had some nerves in the first game, but once we relaxed, we hit the ball well and played good defense.”
In Game 1, sac flies from Thompson and Cheyenne Logan put Hamilton up 2-0 in the first. Smithville (20-14) tied it up with RBI singles from Billie Claire Goode and Laken Armstrong in the second and third innings.
The two were tied at 3 apiece after five innings after Hamilton scored on an error and Katie Beth Williams singled for Smithville before Thompson launched her game-winning two-run shot.
In Game 2, Hamilton jumped out early with a Thompson RBI single and a sac fly from Hope Manasco.
The Lady Noles answered by tying it up in the bottom half of the inning with a two-run double from Armstrong to plate Angel Guyton and Breanna Edgeworth.
Taylor Hyland’s solo home run put Hamilton back on top in the third. They scored three in the fourth, two in the fifth off another Thompson home run and one in the seventh on Logan’s solo shot.
Smithville stranded the bases loaded twice in the first game and once in the second game.
“Those were killers for us,” Smithville coach Jeremy Duke said. “Hamilton’s a good team, and I think they have a good chance to win another championship.”