By Brandon Speck
Jessica Taylor couldn’t find a word to describe how she felt about her Baldwyn Lady Bearcats – and herself – finally getting over the postseason hump.
“I don’t know the word. I don’t know. I can’t put it in one word I don’t think,” Taylor said.
Like her team, Taylor, a standout player at Booneville not too long ago, never got here as a Blue Devil. Near the top of the 2A North slow pitch softball mountain the last three seasons, Baldwyn fell off before reaching the peak.
After a dominating sweep of East Union Tuesday, Baldwyn – 2A North champ Baldwyn – is in Ridgeland today to play for an MHSAA state championship.
The Lady Bearcats (29-2) face East Webster, a team similarly balanced, in a best-of-three series at Freedom Ridge Park.
Taylor said her senior-heavy lineup set this as their goal as seventh graders. She insists it’s a concerted effort – from Mackenzie Riley’s leadoff spot to the dugout.
“Every player is very key and important,” Taylor said. “I have a senior in the dugout that keeps stats. She works just as hard and does a great job of telling me where to put the kids. Everybody knows their role and have all been vital, every single player.”
Three seniors – Sheneria Tyes, Jorda Waters and Maggie Martin – homered in the sweep of the Urchins. Tyes hit three.
Baldwyn had a 22-game win streak, but will have to see win No. 31 for the ultimate prize.
It didn’t take a win streak to convince Taylor she had a team that cold make this run.
“I knew last year,” she said. “There was no doubt in my mind that I was going to be here with these girls at this moment, no doubt.”
Not new to this
Baldwyn just won its first North title, but is no newcomer. The Lady Bearcats have been close. Now, they’re here – and greedy.
“It’s a dream come true, something me and the kids … it’s always been our dream to get to state. To win state has been our dream, but we’ve got to get there to be able to achieve that dream,” Taylor said.