April 19, 2009
Danny P Smith -
HAMILTON -- Hamilton High School''s Kelle West didn''t let the struggles of one part of her game affect the other Saturday.
West put aside a tough pitching outing to deliver offensively and help the Hamilton fast-pitch softball team beat Eupora 9-7 in the third round of the Class 2A playoffs.
After allowing four runs on four hits in the first inning and facing six batters, West got all of the runs back with her bat with a pair of two-run singles.
"I just wasn''t on pitching, but I just tried to shake that off and focused at the plate," West said. "That''s the best thing you can do when you get down."
Coupled with Thursday''s 10-0 victory at Eupora, Hamilton swept the series 2-0 and moves on to play Monroe County rival Hatley in the Class 2A North State final. Hatley beat Ackerman 4-0 Saturday to close its series.
The Lady Lions (13-10) have scored 39 runs in their last three games and appear to have hit their stride.
"We weren''t playing too well at the beginning of the season, but we are coming together as a team," West said.
When West ran into trouble in the first, coach Jason Cobb turned to Shelby Savage, who struck out two to get out of the jam.
Cobb said it is a luxury to have two quality pitchers, especially when one has an off day.
The Lady Lions cut the lead in half in the first on a two-run double by Lyndsey Williams. West tied the game in the second with her first two-run single.
The Lady Lions took a 5-4 lead in the third when Williams singled and scored on a passed ball. They added four more runs in the fourth on three hits to expand the margin to 9-4. West had another two-run single and scored on an error.
Anna Imel drove home the other run with a sacrifice fly.
The Lady Eagles scored a pair of runs in the fifth and one more in the sixth, but it was not enough.
"We''re still playing strong," Cobb said. "We kind of stumbled there in the beginning and stumbled a little bit at the end, but we had enough to hang on."
Williams led Hamilton''s nine-hit attack with her double and single, while West and Miranda McCormick had two singles each. Savage, Katie Beth Dahlem, and Caitlyn Atkins added one single each.
Savage earned the victory, scattering eight hits and striking out six in 6 2/3 innings.
Cobb likes the way his team is playing and preparing for the postseason.
"We''re playing with a lot of confidence," Cobb said. "That''s what you''ve got to be doing this time of year to be able to get to the next level. We''ve been real focused at practice."