AMORY – Amory took advantage of early Hamilton miscues, but the Lady Lions made a game out of it in the middle innings.
The Lady Panthers iced the 10-6 win with a few insurance runs late last Tuesday night.
“We didn’t play our best, but we still found a way to win,” Amory coach Chris Pace said. “It was a bit of an ugly game for both teams.”
Hamilton had a scoring opportunity early with Taylor Brock’s leadoff double, but Amory got the lead out at third base and turned a double play to keep them off the board.
The Lady Panthers opened their half of the first by reaching on three straight Hamilton errors, two of those scoring runs. Aynslee Willis and Madeline Dean also each sent runs home with base hits.
In the second, Amory once again capitalized on miscues with two of their first three batters reaching on errors. Willis drove home two more runs with a double to left center for a 6-0 lead.
The Lady Lions made a game of it in the top of the third, loading the bases on hits by Jaydan Ray, Lexy Cockerham and Brock.
A single by Carley Reeves brought home the first run with Myiah Dobbs following her with a bases loaded walk. Icie Cockerham and Anna Claire Stahl had back-to-back RBI singles to cut the lead to 6-4.
Amory added its first insurance run in the bottom of the inning with a double by Ashley Simmons, a single by Dean and a fielder’s choice to score a run by Georgi Pickle.
Hamilton made it a two-run game once more in the fourth when Reeves drove in two runs with a single to right.
The Lady Panthers got breathing room with two runs in the fifth on a double by Alex Stevens and Gabby Hall reaching on an error. In the sixth, Carley Westbrook led off with a double and came home to score on Savannah Nelson’s sacrifice fly.
“It wasn’t our best game tonight, and Hamilton was coming off a big game last night,” Pace said. “We had some chances early to extend the lead. It was good scoring four in the first, but we kicked the ball around tonight. (Aynslee) Willis dug a lot of balls out at first base.”
The Lady Lions were fresh off a 14-13 slugfest of a loss to Mooreville the night before.
“We hit for about two innings tonight. If you make 7 or 8 errors in the first two innings against a good ballclub like this though, you’re going to lose,” Hamilton coach Bryan Loague said. “If you spot the best two teams in North Mississippi six runs in the first inning, you’re going to get beat.”
Loague stressed to his team the importance of playing good teams close to the playoffs.
“I always schedule somebody tough like these two teams right before the playoffs to try to get us ready for the playoffs,” Loague said. “I don’t think we’ll meet anybody better than the two we’ve played the last two nights. We just have to get focused before the playoffs.”
Hamilton opens up the first round on the road at Wheeler, while Amory hosts Caledonia.