East Webster spoils Loyd Star’s Cinderella season
RIDGELAND — The Loyd Star Lady Hornets’ Cinderella season came to a disappointing end in Saturday’s contest against the East Webster Lady Wolverines in the MHSAA Class 2A State Fastpitch Softball Championship action at Freedom Ridge Park.
The two time defending state champions Lady Wolverines captured a big 3-1 victory in Game Two to keep the series alive and forced a decisive Game Three.
In Game Three contest, East Webster managed to defend off Loyd Star’s late rally attempt in the final three innings to prevail 4-3 and win their third straight Class 2A state championship.
In Friday’s Game One action, the Lady Hornets came out strong and defeated the Lady Wolverines in a close 3-2 contest.
“I knew coming in that we had to play our ball to beat a really good East Webster ball club,” said Loyd Star coach Jan Delaughter. “East Webster came out hitting the ball, and we did not until late in the contest.
“Defensively, we made too many costly errors, and East Webster did a good job capitalizing on our mistakes in both games,” added Delaughter. “Overall, I am very proud of my girls. They worked hard all season long to get here. I know this was a tough loss in general but there is nothing to be ashamed about. Everyone played hard until the very end, and we finished in the state championship.”
Loyd Star concluded their amazing Cinderella season as the Class 2A South State Champions and State Runners-Up Champions with an impressive 28-5 record overall.
The Lady Hornets experience a great season overall as they overcame the elements from Mother Nature early in the season to put together a impressive 18-game winning streak to finish with a 20-3 record in the regular season and won back to back Region 7-2A titles with a perfect 8-0 record.
In the playoffs, Loyd Star swept Union, Enterprise-Clarke and Taylorsville to make it the state championship in Ridgeland.
Loyd Star 3, East Webster 2
In Game One’s contest Friday night, Loyd Star and East Webster softball fans watched two heavy weight teams battle from start to finish on the softball diamond.
After a scoreless first inning of action, the Lady Hornets managed to get on the scoreboard first as they captured an early 3-0 lead on a two- RBI single from Mackenzie Smith in the second inning.
Loyd Star’s defense continued to turn up the pressure on East Webster throughout the rest of the contest as they held the Lady Wolverines scoreless until the top of the sixth inning.
In the sixth inning, the Lady Wolverines managed to break up Loyd Star’s shut out on a two-run home run by Kerrigan Clark.
The Lady Hornets defense ended East Webster’s rally attempt to get out of the inning with a 3-2 lead and held on for the win.
Mackenzie Smith was the winning hurdler on the rubber for the Lady Hornets with six strikeouts and one walk.
Bailie Springfield suffered the loss for the Lady Wolverines with three strikeouts and five walks.
Julie Smith directed Loyd Star’s offense with a double. Hitting safely was Madison Jones and Mackenzie Smith.
Clark paced the Lady Wolverines at the plate with a home run. Autumn Frost contributed two singles. Springfield had a double.
East Webster 3, Loyd Star 1
In Game Two, the Lady Hornets and the Lady Wolverines continued their strong defensive bout from Friday night as both teams fought in a scoreless contest until the third inning.
In the top of the third inning, Loyd Star’s senior Raigan Smith smashed a solo home run to start the inning to give her team an early 1-0 lead.
In the bottom of the third inning, the Lady Wolverines answered Loyd Star’s challenge and plated two runs to take over the lead at 2-1.
East Webster added another run on the scoreboard in the bottom of the fifth inning on a solo home run by Clark to secure a 3-1 advantage and held on to clinch the win to force a decisive Game Three.
Springfield tossed the win for East Webster with three strikeouts and one walk.
Mackenzie Smith absorbed the setback for the Lady Hornets with two strikeouts and one walk.
Raigan Smith powered the Lady Hornets at the plate with a home run and a single. Johnna Norman hit a single.
Clark paced the Lady Wolverines’ offense with a home run and a single. Kendall Wilkinson and Frost provided a double each. Jessica Aron and Kandler Flora hit safely.
East Webster 4, Loyd Star 3
In the final contest of the evening, both teams fought through the hot, humid conditions to provide another exciting thriller for their softball fans.
After a scoreless first inning of action, the Lady Wolverines managed to get on the scoreboard first in the bottom of the second inning as they took advantage of a couple of Loyd Star’s miscues to secure a early 4-0 lead.
The Lady Hornets would rely on their tough defensive pressure to hold the Lady Wolverines scoreless through out the rest of the contest.
On offense, the Lady Hornets worked hard to rally back in the top of the fifth and sixth innings plating one run in each inning to cut into East Webster’s lead at 4-2.
In the top of the seventh inning, Loyd Star’s Megan Norton started off the inning with a huge solo home run to cut down East Webster’s lead more at 4-3, but the Lady Hornets could not maintain their rally attempt as the Lady Wolverines clinched the win and their third straight state championship.
Springfield pitches the win on the mound for East Webster with one strikeout and two walks.
Mackenzie Smith suffered the setback on the rubber for Loyd Star with one strikeout and one walk.
Norton sparked the Lady Hornets’ offense with a home run. Ali Gartman contributed two singles. Hitting safely were Julie Smith, Abagail Thornton, Johnna Norman and Raigan Smith.
Springfield led the Lady Wolverines’ offense with two singles. Jennah Pate, Madison Flemings, Aron, Flora and Wilkinson hit safely.