RIDGELAND

With the deciding championship game already well in hand with two outs in the top of the seventh inning, and Mooreville leading Choctaw Central 7-0, Hallie Donald was still focused on the task at hand.

She wanted to strike out the final batter she faced in high school.

Tia’Rain Saunders was the unlucky batter to come up to the plate. Donald wasn’t going to let her storied career end any other way.

“That is what I always wanted to do,” Donald said. “It’s always a pop-up or a ground out. I wanted to be able to get a strikeout. I was pretty excited about it.”

It was the perfect ending to the perfect bookend for Donald with Mooreville. Donald had five strikeouts in the game and pitched a total of 14 innings and allowed only one run in the two games in the series combined.

The final game couldn’t have been scripted any better for Mooreville; well, except maybe Donald being able to go to bat at least once in the game.

Walk this way

All four times she walked up to the batters’ box, Choctaw Central elected to intentionally walk her. She didn’t let the move rattle her in the circle though.

“I would go up there, waiting on them to walk me. When I got back in the dugout I thought I just need to stay focused on pitching,” Donald said. “I couldn’t let them walking me in my last high school career game distract me.”

She has been an integral part of the team for half a decade and been a part of some great moments. This was her fourth state championship to play in with slow-pitch included.

Mooreville being a softball power is nothing new in Northeast Mississippi, but Donald helped lead the Lady Troopers to something the program had never done before.

Win back-to-back state championships.

“To finish your last three years in Jackson at the state tournament with two wins, a lot of kids never get a chance to be here,” Mooreville head coach Perry Wilburn said. “It’s an honor for her.”

Donald couldn’t have given any more to Mooreville in her time in high school. She will now be moving on to continue her career for Jones County Junior College.

She’s not looking toward the future just yet, though; the championship is just too sweet.

“I’m going to live off this just a little longer,” Donald said.

blake.morgan@journalinc.com Twitter: @BlakeMorganDJ

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