By Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal
RIDGELAND – East Webster knew what Enterprise was going to do – attempt to score from third base with a squeeze bunt in the sixth inning.
The runner broke early and scored.
East Webster coach Meleah Brown protested, but the go-ahead run counted and eventually was the difference as Enterprise defeated the Lady Wolverines 3-2 Thursday in the first game of their MHSAA Class 2A fast-pitch softball state championship series at Freedom Ridge Park.
The second game of the best-of-three series between the Wolverines (20-7) and Bulldogs (28-5) is scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday. A third game, if necessary, would follow.
“We were ready for it,” said a somber Brown. “Their girl left a second too early. You have to wait until the ball is released.”
East Webster came close to tying the game in the seventh, but Autumn Frost was thrown out at the plate attempting to score from third on a ground out by Cayley McClellen.
On the play, Enterprise pitcher Hayleigh Harper fielded the ball, looked Frost back to third, then threw to first for the out.
“I was surprised (Frost) went,” Harper said. “All I was thinking about was holding the runner and getting the out at first.”
Brown called it was a base-running mistake.
“We made way too many mental errors today,” she said.
East Webster took a 1-0 lead in the first inning on a double by Bailey Williams off Harper, who recorded 10 strikeouts, but gave up seven hits.
Mamie Hollenhead doubled in the Wolverines’ second run in the sixth to tie the score at 2-2.
Enterprise scored a run in the first and took a 2-1 lead in the fourth on a solo home run by Morgan Porter.
East Webster pitcher Swayze Hollenhead, a Mississippi State signee, took the blame for that mistake.
“I left it hanging … bad,” she said.
Hollenhead believes her team may have been intimidated at first by Enterprise’s hard-throwing Harper.
“That pitcher was in our heads,” she said. “She has speed. She throws it outside and has a change-up. We were able to hit her. This game was more mental for us than anything.”