Lady Lions, Tigers face for North title
BY BRANDON SPECK
The only for-sure thing going into this weekend's North State softball games is that Monroe County will have North champion.
Hatley and Hamilton will meet for a chance to represent Class 2A in the state finals Friday and Saturday in Ridgeland.
amp"I think it's awesome that we're having that opportunity and that they're having that opportunity,amp" said Hamilton coach Jason Cobb.
The situation is impressively familiar. Hatley and Hamilton are also both in Division 2-2A. In Cobb's first season here, then 1A Hamilton faced Monroe rival Smithville in North State.
amp"I think it says a lot about softball in our county,amp" Cobb said, amp"that we still have as many teams playing as we do. Our kids here do a real good job of preparing during the season.amp"
Hatley coach Chris George said the proximity of the two schools makes the match even more special.
amp"It's awesome. It's just right down the road,amp" George said. amp"There's nothing like it. It's a big-time rivalry. We just have to go out and play a good ballgame.amp"
Hamilton scored 39 runs last week in a Game 3 win at Baldwyn and in a sweep of Eupora, 10-0 and 9-7.
Saturday, Miranda McCormick, Kelle West and Caitlyn Atkins combined for six of Hamilton's 10 hits. Lyndsey Williams singled and doubled for the Lady Lions (13-10).
Shelby Savage picked up the win.
amp"Eupora's a very well known team in 2A,amp" Cobb said. amp"They put us out last year in North Half. I thought our girls did a real good job of preparing. They just seemed to be ready to play.amp"
Hatley and Hamilton split the season series. Hamilton won 6-1 at home and Hatley won 4-3 in eight innings at Hatley.
amp"They've played well all year long,amp" Cobb said of Hatley. amp"They've been good defensively, hit the ball well and (Lesley) Hudson has done a good job for them on the mound. I commend Coach George for a great job. They've been together for a while now and it's starting to show.amp"
After knocking off Ackerman 4-2 at home Thursday, the Lady Tigers (20-3) left Ackerman with a 4-0 shutout Saturday. Hudson allowed only three hits to improve to 18-2 on the season. Taylor Barrett's single and double were two of Hatley's six hits.
amp"We were very sharp on defense, but our hitting wasn't very well,amp" George said. amp"The one thing we did do, was, we got some timely hits.amp"
The North finals series begins Thursday at 5:30 p.m. at Hatley. The best-of-three conclude Saturday in Hamilton.
On Monroe360.com: Find out how a lack of hits has helped Hamilton get to where it is this weekend. Plus, is there any extra pressure on Hatley with a state title berth on the line?