By Adam Gore
Special to the Journal
MYRTLE – Sophomore first baseman Hailee Jones has been clutch in pressure situations for the Hamilton Lady Lions all season long.
Saturday, she stepped up in the clutch again with a solo home run to send Hamilton (21-7) to advance to a fourth-straight North State championship series with a series-clinching 9-8 win over West Union (22-9) in 8 innings.
Hamilton won the first game 7-4.
“I couldn’t believe it,” said Jones. “I’ve been in pressure situations a lot this season and I like to be in those kind of situations, but I still can’t believe it.”
“West Union is a really good team,” said Hamilton head coach Bryan Loague. “I knew it was going to be a battle and we were able to make some great plays on defense it be able to win the first game and happen to be on the positive side of things in the second game.”
West Union tied the game in the top of the seventh when they baited the Lady Lions into a run down situation allowing Bailey Bogue, who doubled, to score from third.
“I couldn’t ask anything more out of the girls,” said West Union head coach Lisa Bogue. “I thought we did everything we could to win the ballgame, but unfortunately came up short in extra innings.”
Brittany Taylor got the Lady Eagles bat heated up with a monster two-run home run in the top of the first inning in game two.
“Brittany gave us the start we needed to bounce back from the first game,” said Bogue. “We didn’t hit the ball well in the first game, but that home run really seemed to give the rest of the girls a lot of life in the dugout.”
Raimi Bryan put Hamilton on top 8-7 in the bottom of the sixth with a solo home run to start the inning.
“That was a big momentum swing for us,” said Loague. “West Union’s bats had started getting really hot and if not for that we would be heading to a third game.”
In Game 1, Cheyenne Logan went 2-for-3 with a walk, two RBI, and a run scored as the Lady Lions strung together 11 hits.
Taylor and Julianna Garner each doubled and scored for West Union in the loss.