October 17, 2012 1:12:59 AM
GRENADA -- The Columbus High School slow-pitch softball team's run to the state title series came up a few victories short.
Grenada defeated Columbus 9-2 and 11-6 Tuesday to win the best-of-three Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 6A North State title series.
With the victories, Grenada, which was one of two teams that lost a tiebreaker to Columbus to decide the district champion, will advance to play Northwest Rankin on Saturday at Freedom Ridge Park in Ridgeland.
Columbus ends its season at 15-7, but second-year coach Jaime Ellis-Melton said this season was special and will help the program get stronger.
"Nerves again took us down in the first game," Ellis-Melton said. "We were winning in the beginning of the first game and then Grenada came alive. (Pitcher) Porchia (Brooks) struggled a little bit hitting her location. We also had some errors that killed us."
Ellis-Melton feels the experience of advancing to the North State title series will help push the program forward. She said she hopes many of the players who were members of the slow-pitch program will play on the fast-pitch team in 2013.
"I am proud of them. They are district champion, and they are champions," Ellis-Melton said.
"It was hard for us, but I think it is going to help the program a lot."
Hamilton advances to Class 2A state title match: At Baldwyn, Hamilton returns to the Class 2A state championship series for the first time since winning the 2009 title.
The Lady Lions defeated Baldwyn 9-2 and 9-6 to win the North State championship.
"I am proud of the girls," Hamilton coach Lewis Earnest said. "We didn't play as well as we are capable of playing but it is still great to be playing for the state championship.
Hamilton will face Enterprise in a three-game series for the state championship. The series starts at 11 a.m. Saturday in Ridgeland.
"We started out slow in each game," Earnest said. "We were able to string together some hits over the last three innings in each game.
"It was intense. Both teams were a little tight. We made some errors and they made some errors. Fortunately, we took advantage of their mistakes more than they did of ours."
Hamilton pounded out 16 hits, while cruising to an easy win in the opener. In the second game, the Lady Lions rallied with four runs in the bottom of the sixth inning.
"We just kept clawing," Earnest said. "That is one thing about this team. They have fought and battled the whole year."
In game one, Hallie Dobbs led the way with three hits. Alison Atkins, Taylor Hyland, Cheyenne Logan, Addie Thompson and Jordyn Jackson each added multiple hits.
Hamilton had 19 hits in the title clincher. Atkins, Hyland, Mary Willis and Christy Willis each had three hits. Jackson and Dobbs each had two hits. Atkins, Christy Willis and Raimi Bryant each had doubles.
"When we won the state championship in 2009, we beat Enterprise," Earnest said. "So we get to face them again. It has become quite a little rivalry. We are excited about it and are looking forward to playing for the state championship."