SOFTBALL: Smithville advances with ease

By Brandon Speck/Monroe Journal

SMITHVILLE – Smithville made sure it wrapped up a trip to the Class 1A North title game without the aid of a Game 3 against Ingomar.
Behind Meagan Whitehead (9-2), the Lady Seminoles (24-5) won 10-0 in five innings at home Saturday morning to get to its third straight North State series.
They will face West Union beginning Thursday in Smithville for a chance at the state championship series.
“We’ve got our work cut out for us,” said Smithville coach Jeremy Duke, whose team lost a lot of its production after a loss in last season’s state finals. “We’ve had some girls step in and do a good job. They’ve just gotten better and better.”
Already leading 4-0 through three innings, Kyla Ford doubled to get things going in the third. Breanna Edgeworth and Whitney Fears drove in two runs on RBI singles. Lane Kennedy scored when Kelsi Watson reached on an error for a 7-0 lead.
Smithville went ahead 8-0 in the fourth. Kami Roberts singled and scored when Edgeworth reached on an error.
Ford ended it in the fifth with a two-run single.
“We kind of showed up a little dead today,” said Ingomar (11-18) coach Kevin Williams. “We didn’t play the way we have all season, but I’m really proud of these girls. Smithville’s a great team. We’re really young and I’m excited about our future.”
n Eupora 5, Hamilton 3: Hamilton saw its bid to return to the Class 2A championship come to an end at home Saturday. After tying the quarterfinal series with Eupora with a 5-3 win in Game 2, the Lady Eagles took Game 3 12-8 to advance.
“We knew going in we were going to have to make plays defensively and we didn’t play very solid defensively,” Hamilton coach Jason Cobb said. “You can’t give a team like Eupora extra outs. They will make you hurt.”
Eupora and Hatley, an 8-6 winner in eight innings of Game 2 at Baldwyn, will meet for the North title.
Hamilton took a 6-5 lead in Game 3, but Eupora (22-10) scored four runs in the sixth inning to take a 9-6 lead on four consecutive RBIs, three on singles from Taylor Neal, Allie Steadman and Katelyn Roberts.
“You’re never comfortable,” Eupora coach Trae Embry said. “It seemed like all day long, every time we went up, they responded.”
Hamilton (18-10) had battled back from deficits of 4-0 and 5-4 and took the 6-5 lead in the bottom of the fourth on a two-run double from senior Lyndsey Williams.
The Lady Lions took advantage of a third inning error to tie the game at four on RBI singles from Anna Imel and Chauncia Willis and a two-run single from Shelby Savage.
Hamilton tied the series in Game 2 with a 5-3 win. Trailing 3-0, Imel tied the game with a two-run single in the fourth and Hamilton scored on RBI groundouts from Williams and winning pitcher Shelby Savage in the sixth to pull ahead.
Williams took the loss in Game 3. Lexie Boykin earned the win. Amber Dean took the loss in Game 1.
In Class 3A, defending champion Nettleton punched its ticket to the North finals with an 11-0 win in five innings at Corinth to complete a sweep.