By Kedrick Storey
SMITHVILLE – The Smithville Lady Seminoles belted 36 hits, including three home runs, to sweep the Pine Grove Lady Panthers 10-1 and 15-0 Saturday afternoon in a Class 1A North slow-pitch semifinal.
The Lady Seminoles, who have won the last two Class 1A state titles, will play in their third straight North final on Tuesday.
“At the beginning of the year we had a little trouble, but we are finally putting it together,” said shortstop Lane Kennedy, who had five hits, including home run and scored five runs. “It feels amazing to be back in the North half.”
Smithville coach Jeremy Duke said the team went through a mid-season slump at the plate, but started to show signs of coming out of it over the last two weeks of the regular season.
Saturday’s hit parade showed they were miles away from any slump. They had 20 hits in the first game, with seven players having two or more, including Breanna Edgeworth who belted a solo shot in the sixth for the game’s final run.
Duke said his Lady Seminoles took a more relaxed approach at the plate.
“We’ve been waiting to hit all year,” said Duke. “I think we just pressed at the plate. I think they have finally figured out just to relax and get to the ball. We really turned it on at the plate.”
In Game 2, Smithville (20-12) had 16 hits with three each from Angel Guyton and Claire McNeese. Leading 4-0 in the top of the second, Kennedy and Guyton belted back-to-back home runs to left field. The No. 1 and No. 2 hitters combined for seven RBIs.
Pine Grove managed just one run in Game 1 off an error by Smithville. The Lady Panthers (19-13) had just one hit in Game 2.
“They’re tough,” said Wallis. “I don’t know if anybody can beat them. One through nine can hit it where they want it. It’s what they do and they love it.”