By Brandon Speck/Monroe Journal
AMORY – Gracen Conlee singled to open the fifth inning. Two errors and a run later, the floodgates opened as West Union scored five runs on four Smithville errors en route to a 5-1 win and a sweep of Smithville in the Class 1A state softball quarterfinals.
Ousted by Smithville the past two seasons, the Lady Eagles (17-8) will get a second straight shot in North State against either Wheeler or Vardaman.
Smithville’s run of three straight state championship series comes to an end.
“It was like the hex of Smithville hanging over our heads,” West Union coach Lisa Bogue said. “Once we finally broke the ice and put a little bit of pressure, they made a couple of miscues that we capitalized on and didn’t let up.”
After Conlee’s single, Bailey Bogue reached as Smithville second baseman Macy McCain couldn’t come up with a grounder and Conlee went to third as a throw from right bounced past third baseman Linsey Lann.
Brittany Taylor reached on the second error of the inning on a bloop to short that scored Conlee for a 1-0 lead.
Danielle Taylor then reached on the inning’s fourth error to score Bogue before Leah Paige Goolsby’s RBI single made it 3-0.
Hannah McQuary’s single loaded the bases before Jodie McMillen’s RBI single and Conlee was hit by a pitch to make it 5-0. West Union sent 11 batters to the plate.
Taylor (11-4) did the work from the mound, striking out five and allowing four hits. For Smithville, Meagan Whitehead (9-4) allowed only six hits and struck out six.
“We got beat by a good team,” Smithville coach Jeremy Duke said. “Danny does a good job pitching and they made all the plays and we didn’t.”
Smithville (19-8), which played only winless Coldwater over the past 21 days, didn’t get to finish its season on its home field, instead losing the finale at Amory after last week’s EF-5 tornado left home field too damaged to play on.
The Lady Seminoles got a run back in the bottom of the sixth. Whitehead tripled and scored on ICC-signee Kami Roberts’ RBI groundout.
Taylor left two stranded in scoring position in the second, inducing a groundout from Taylor Ann Boozer. She avoided more trouble in the third, stranding two after getting Breanna Edgeworth to ground out.
“I’m gonna miss it a lot,” said a teary eyed Roberts, who ends her prep career with more than 90 wins and 600 strikeouts. “We didn’t hit good at all and errors costs us some runs.”