MANTACHIE – The Mantachie Lady Mustangs cruised through round two of the MHSAA class 2A state playoffs just as easily as they did round one, knocking off Riverside 10-0 at home and then 9-3 on the road.
The Lady Mustangs got a brilliant effort from eighth-grade starting pitcher Lynsey Barber, as she shut the Lady Bulldogs out and was one hit away from tossing a perfect game.
Barber gave up an infield single to lead the game off, but was flawless from then on, giving up no more hits and issuing no walks.
The Lady Mustang offense didn’t get cranked up until the third inning, but gave Barber more than adequate breathing room when they did.
Emilee Clouse drew a walk in the first inning and later scored on a Jade Miller single to give Mantachie a 1-0 lead in the first, but the Lady Mustangs would jump out in front, 5-0, after a four-run third.
Hannah Gillean doubled to lead things off, then immediately scored on a single to left field by Barber.
Clouse then drew her second walk of the contest just before Mackenzie Guin drilled a double into the left-center gap to score Barber.
Clouse scored on a wild pitch, just before Miller was hit by a pitch, to put Mantachie up 4-0.
Guin would score two pitches later on a wild pitch to extend the lead out to 5-0.
As Barber continued to ice the Lady Bulldog bats, Mantachie squeezed the vices in the bottom of the fourth, pushing five runs across the plate to claim a mercy rule, 10-0 victory.
Barber drew a five-pitch walk to lead off the fifth and immediately advanced to second on a single by McKinley Montgomery.
Clouse doubled to center, allowing Barber to score and Montgomery to move up to third base.
Guin delivered another double, off the wall in center field, to drive in Montgomery and Clouse and put Mantachie on top 8-0.
Miller singled and moved to third base, while Guin scored on a double by Hannah Sparks for the ninth Mantachie run.
Gillean then drove a single into left field to score Miller and give the Lady Mustangs the important 10th run.
Barber mowed the Lady Bulldogs down, in order, with three strikeouts to end the game in the top of the fifth inning and give Mantachie a 1-0 series lead.
Guin was a perfect three-for-three at the plate, picking up a pair of RBI doubles, a single, and scored two runs.
Miller, Sparks, and Gillean were all 2-for-3 combining for two RBI and two runs scored.
Clouse was 1-for-1 with a double, but also drew a pair of walks and scored three runs.
Barber tallied nine strikeouts in the one-hit shutout win.
On Thursday, the Lady Mustangs used all seven innings, but came away with a 9-3 victory to clinch the series and easily move onto round three, where they will face division 1-2A rival Baldwyn, who easily dispatched Strayhorn in a two-game sweep.
Check out next week’s Times for a full recap.