BALDWYN – Neither Hamilton coach Jason Cobb nor Baldwyn coach Jessica Taylor saw it coming.
After five innings Tuesday night, Cobb was fine with the unexpected result, Taylor not so much.
On Baldwyn’s turf, Hamilton scored seven first-inning runs and tacked on 13 more in the second inning in a 20-5 romp in Game 3 of their MHSAA Class 2A second round fast-pitch series.
“We played with a lot of focus tonight. That’s where we’ve been trying to get,” Cobb said. “That’s what we’ve been wanting. It’s huge to come to somebody else’s field and be able to jump out early.”
Hamilton scored all seven first-inning runs with two outs. With Baldwyn already down 2-0, three errors by the Bearcats made way for RBI singles from Caitlyn Atkins and Kelle West.
In the third, winning pitcher Shelby Savage had a two-run double, Miranda McCorminck a two-RBI single and Lexus Jordan a two-RBI bloop single. Hamilton sent 17 batters to the plate in the inning.
The Lady Lions had an 11-day layoff before this series began.
“We’ve been kind of playing a little flat and the break really hurt us,” Cobb said. “We were playing a lot better when the break happened. Maybe we can knock the rust back off and we’ll be back in shape.”
Baldwyn (14-12) scored two runs in the second inning to pull within 7-2 on Andrea Underwood’s two-run single. Mallory Hill and Genee Grace Thomas added RBI singles in the third and Merica Turner had an RBI sacrifice fly in the fifth to round out Baldwyn’s scoring.
Hamilton (11-10) has now eliminated Baldwyn’s softball team four straight times – two in slow-pitch, and in fast-pitch last season.
Taylor said that fact wasn’t a factor.
“I saw it in their eyes today. They were ready to beat them,” Taylor said. “I don’t know what happened. I didn’t see this.
“I’m worried about my girls when we don’t score first. Hamilton’s been there. They’ve done this. We haven’t. We’re getting there.”
Savage struck out six in the win. Kayla Carpenter took the loss after leaving with two outs in the third. Jordan went 3-for-3 with two RBIs for Hamilton.
“We’ve been playing kind of decent this year, but we’re finally getting better,” said Hamilton first baseman Lyndsey Williams, who drove in two runs. “We were scared about losing so early.”