HATLEY – The Hamilton Lady Lions kept their undefeated record intact last Tuesday night as they swept their way through the Monroe County Tournament to grab their first title in the slow-pitch event since 2013.
Hamilton opened its afternoon up with a 2-0 shutout against Hatley, then beat Amory 5-1 before capturing the tournament with a 2-1 walkoff victory against Smithville.
Hamilton coach Bryan Loague credited his defense, in particular shortstop Tori Harrison, in the win.
“Tori has made three or four really good plays so far this season,” Loague said. “She made another play on a popup that not many shortstops would have made. She didn’t hit it really well today, but she made several really big plays at short to keep us in that game and in the one with Hatley earlier.”
Smithville took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first when Tara Parham led off with a double, and Orlandria Smith reached on an error to send her home.
Hamilton answered that in the bottom half as Caylin Ferraro led off with a single and moved to second on an error in the outfield. Harrison drove her home with her base hit.
Each team stranded runners in the second and third innings as Smithville got hits from Chloe Summerford and Alivia Tipton and Hamilton had singles from Kaitlyn Gosa and Madison Mitchell.
The Lady Noles threatened with a leadoff double from Harley Hatley in the fourth, but the Lady Lions kept the game tied with a groundout to short, a pop up to second and a fly out to right.
Tristin Price led off the fifth with a single, but that was when Harrison turned her double play to end the inning, going into the outfield grass to catch a pop up and doubling the runner off at first.
The Lady Lions capitalized on the momentum of the big defensive play, winning the game in the bottom of the fifth. With one out, Gosa singled, and Melba Jones came on to run for her. Smithville got a groundout to short, but with two outs, Mollie Cockerham reached on an error. Jones got caught up between third and home but scored on another error as they tried to get her out in a rundown.
“We hit it decent against Amory, and we had runners on the whole game against Hatley and just couldn’t get them in,” Loague said. “This game, we didn’t hit it well, but we’ve been here all day, and it’s hot. Monroe County champions, and it’s the first one in about six years, so we’ll take it.”
Smithville 9, Hatley 2
Smithville’s Harley Hatley drove in six runs as she blasted a grand slam and a two-run homer. Orlandria Smith added a double and a single, while Lara Grace Woods, Olivia Carter and Tristin Price all had RBI hits.
Harley Gaston drove in both runs for Hatley with a two-run single in the third inning, while Bre Harmon added a pair of hits for the Lady Tigers.
Amory 13, Hatley 5
Addie Bunch hit a two-run homer and Emma Walker blasted a solo shot in the win for the Lady Panthers.
The Lady Panthers took the lead with a nine-run third inning that also included RBI hits from Macie Williams, Maggie Kate Cummings, Reese Griffith, Madison Kirkpatrick and Connor Stevens. Walker, Stevens, Bunch, Williams and Emma Pinkerton all had multiple hits.
For Hatley, Lauren Mitchell, Peyton Wilkinson, Cheyenne Bowen, Harley Gaston and Emilee Slade drove in runs.
Hamilton 5, Amory 1
Faith Fontenot hit a solo homer, and Kaitlyn Gosa drove in a pair of runs with a double in the win for the Lady Lions.
Reese Griffith drove in Amory’s lone run, while Maggie Kate Cummings had a pair of hits.
Hamilton 2, Hatley 0
Faith Imel had an RBI single and Caylin Ferraro a sacrifice fly in the top of the fifth to plate the only runs of the game. Imel and Lann Hollis had two hits apiece in the win, while Kaitlyn Gosa pitched the shutout.
Smithville 13, Amory 5
Orlandria Smith hit a solo homer and had two hits in the win for the Lady Noles. Lara Grace Woods went 3 for 4 with a pair of RBI, while Harley Hatley, Annie Brooke Morgan, Chloe Summerford and Lindsey Cox all had two hits apiece.
For Amory, Connor Stevens blasted a two-run homer, and Emma Walker had a pair of hits, including a double and an RBI. Addie Bunch also had an RBI hit.