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Bogue Chitto wins 1A state title

Getting back to the state championship was the main goal for the Bogue Chitto Lady Cats entering the 2017 season.

The bitter taste of defeat still lingered with the players and the coaches after losing the state title series last season. After winning the first game against Smithville, Bogue Chitto dropped the next two games and lost the state championship.

This time around, the Lady Cats didn’t waste their opportunity as they clinched the 1A state championship Thursday afternoon by a score of 6-2 over Hamilton.

The moment head coach Scott Leggett prepared for came true as he put the winning medals around each players’ neck after the game, hugging and embracing them as tears streamed down the players’ faces.

“It’s one of the greatest feelings in the world and I’m extremely proud of these girls,” Leggett said. “They definitely deserve this. They don’t know how to quit. They kept fighting and fighting. It was just our year.”

The win gives Bogue Chitto their fourth state championship in fast-pitch softball and their first since 2014, when they also defeated Hamilton. Both series ended the same way with Bogue Chitto turning a 6-4-3 double play to win it all.

For the second game in a row, the Lady Cats had to fight back from an early deficit as Hamilton took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first on a fielding error that allowed the runner to score from third base.

Sophomore Karly Leake got Bogue Chitto on the board with an RBI single down the left field line to tie the game 1-1. An RBI groundout from senior Terrah Nelson and an RBI single from freshman Codi Leggett gave Bogue Chitto the lead at 3-1.

The Lady Cats never looked behind after that, holding the lead the rest of the game.

With the score 3-2 heading to the top of the sixth, freshman Stevie Montgomery roped an RBI single to right field to increase their lead to 4-2.

Sophomore Baileigh Jackson added two insurance runs in the top of the seventh with an RBI double to deep left field to increase the lead to 6-2.

With runners on first and second for Hamilton with one out in the bottom of the seventh, Bogue Chitto turned the double play, threw their gloves in the air and ran to congratulate each other at the pitcher’s mound as they enjoyed their moment.

“There’s not a better way to walk off the field in a state championship game,” Leggett said. “I hate to see my seniors go, but if they have to go, this is the way to go.”

For seniors Terrah Nelson and Cherie Savoie, the hard work and dedication they put in to achieve a season like this all paid off and that championship feeling all culminated in one special moment.

“This is amazing to go out like this. I’ll never forget all of this,” Nelson said. “My teammates and I worked so hard this year. To finish up this way is amazing.”

“I couldn’t do it without the ladies behind us,” Savoie said. “It’s an amazing feeling.”

To come back after last season and win it all this time around was a feeling of redemption and glory for the two seniors.

“It was motivation for us to work harder and get back here,” Nelson said. “We all wanted to work harder to get back to this moment and we did just that.”

Freshman pitcher Codi Leggett was brilliant on the mound once again for Bogue Chitto, pitching all seven innings and giving up two runs (one earned) on seven hits, one walk and two strikeouts.

Leggett has battled all season for this team, but even after pitching almost every game, the freshman is ready for more.

“I’m just so excited right now. I think we can keep going and going. I’m ready,” Codi Leggett said with a wide smile on her face. “I’m not ready for the season to be over, but it’ll be good to have a break.”

Nelson and Savoie went out on top and will be moving on to whatever lies ahead in their futures.

The majority of the team returns next season and the mission will remain the same.

“We’re going to keep coming back,” Codi Leggett said. “We can win it next year.”