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Hamilton softball team clinches region title


By Don Rowe, Special to the Dispatch



HAMILTON -- The Hamilton High School slow-pitch softball team swept three games last week in Smithville to claim the Monroe County tournament and then hit nine home runs in a doubleheader against New Site on Thursday to clinch the Class 2A, Region 1 championship. 


Needing just one win in its last three games to claim the division title, Hamilton had 45 hits, including the nine home runs -- in 23-0 and 18-1 victories. 


"Normally in lopsided games, the other team makes a bunch of errors and you have some cheap hits, but we really pounded the ball," Hamilton coach Lewis Earnest. "There weren't many cheap ones in either game, that's for sure." 


In game one, Taylor Hyland ripped a three-run homer in the first inning. Cheyenne Logan and Mary Willis followed with solo shots in a back-to-back-to-back barrage to give winning pitcher Alison Atkins all the support she needed. 


Two innings later, Christy Willis popped a three-run shot and Myiah Dobbs followed with a two-run blast. 


In game two, Hyland and Logan hit back-to-back dingers in the first, followed by a three-run blast by Christy Willis in the second and a three-run homer by Jordyn Jackson in the third. 


Hamilton used a 31-hit attack to knock off three opponents in the Monroe County tournament at Smithville. The Lady Lions scored 23 runs in their first two games, but were outhit 7-5 in the championship game. Earnest's squad sandwiched a pair of victories against Amory (13-3, 3-0) around a 10-3 decision against Smithville to claim the crown. 


"We didn't hit the ball at all in the championship game," Earnest said. "In fact, we didn't hit the ball at all in the second half of the first two games, either. We stroked it the first half of both games, got a big lead, and just quit. We didn't hit the ball nearly as well as I thought we should have." 


In the championship game, Amory, fresh off a 13-3 loss in which it was outhit 13-7, outhit the eventual champions only to fall victim to a pair of home runs. 


Atkins, the winning pitcher, gave herself the only run she would need with a leadoff home run in the top of the first. Logan provided a pair of insurance runs with a third-inning two-run blast with Taylor Hyland on base. 


Amory had runners in scoring position in the second, third, and fourth (bases loaded), but Atkins, with sterling defensive play by her teammates who committed but one error, worked herself out of all three jams. 


In the first game against Amory, Hamilton bolted to a 9-0 lead after two innings. Thirteen Hamilton hits and six errors later, the Lady Lions had a 13-3 win and a ticket to the second round of the tournament.  


Atkins led the game off with a home run and Logan smashed a three-run shot in the second to keep Amory at bay. 


Mary Willis, Atkins, Thompson, and Jackson accounted for eight of Hamilton's 13 hits. 


Against Smithville, Mary Willis stroked a pair of home runs, a three-run bomb in the first and a solo shot in the third. Hyland added a three-run blast in the second. 


Mary Willis led the 18-hit attack with three hits and four RBIs, followed by Atkins, Hyland, Christy Willis, Addie Thompson, Myiah Dobbs, and Jackson with two each. 


Entering the last week of the regular season and prior to the New Site sweep, Earnest's Lady Lions sported a 16-5 record 


Atkins has been the pitcher of record in all 21 of Hamilton's games for a .762 winning percentage. In 133 1/3 innings, she has posted four shutouts and allowed only 54 earned runs, with 16 strikeouts and 21 walks. 


At the plate, Atkins leads the Lady Lions in at-bats (72), hits (38), singles (31), total bases (52), and owns the team's longest hitting streak at 12 games. She also is second in runs scored (26), batting average (.528), slugging percentage (.722), and on-base percentage (.533).  


Mary Willis is a one of the team leaders in several categories, including home runs (tied with five), batting average (.549), slugging percentage (.902), and on-base percentage (.574). She is second in total bases (46). 


Hyland leads in runs (27), doubles (tied with six), and triples (tied with two), and has the second-longest hitting streak (seven) and the second highest hit total (30), while Christy Willis has the most doubles (tied with six) and RBIs (29). 


Logan leads the squad in home runs (tied with five), and has the second highest stats in at-bats (70) and RBIs (27). Hailee Jones is tied for the team lead in triples (two) and Myiah Dobbs is second on the team in the singles' category (24). 


All 10 starters are hitting over .300, as Jackson (.467), Hyland (.435), Myiah Dobbs (.422), Thompson (.388), Hailie Dobbs (.370), Logan (.357), Raimi Bryan (.328), and Christy Willis (.317) round out the Lady Lions' three through 10 spots. 


Hamilton is hitting .410, with 274 hits, 218 singles, 27 doubles, seven triples, 22 home runs and 173 RBIs, and is outscoring opponents by a 2-1 margin (186-91). 


Hamilton will play a makeup game against Hatley at 11 a.m. Saturday. A victory would eliminate the Lady Tigers from the playoffs. A loss would eliminate Baldwyn. 




n Bray's squad will face Nettleton: Former Aberdeen High coach Lynn Moore knew his team was at a disadvantage speed-wise entering its Class 3A, Division 2 opener against Aberdeen last Friday. That turned out to be the case, as Aberdeen rolled to a 52-14 victory. 


Moore's fears may not have materialized in a scoreless first quarter punctuated by a pair of Bulldog fumbles, but reality took over in the second quarter as Aberdeen capitalized on four Josh Williams to Aaron McMillian touchdown passes to take a 32-0 halftime lead. 


Williams, who was 13 of 14 passing, notched his first touchdown on a 35-yarder to McMillian on the first play of the second quarter. Justin Lucas rambled 27 yards for a score on the Bulldogs' next possession following a Sammie Burroughs' interception. 


Up by two scores, Williams connected with McMillian three more times for touchdowns covering 30, 43, and 58 yards to give Aberdeen a 32-point halftime cushion. 


Burroughs, Myles Perkins, and Tyler Fields added second-half touchdowns to account for the Bulldogs' final points. The second and third team played all but a couple of series after intermission. 


McMillian had seven catches for 205 yards and four touchdowns, followed by Jeremy Brandon with two for 30, Kenric McCoy with two for 21, and Burroughs with two for 15. 


Aberdeen rushed for 242 yards and passed for 271 for 513 total yards, while Mantachie had zero yards rushing and only 22 passing the first half before finishing with 113 total yards (71 rushing, 42 passing). 


Lucas led all runners with 70 yards on just five carries. 


Trey Mims had six tackles, two for losses, to edge Zay Forshee and Tyre Carothers, both of whom had five tackles.  


Aberdeen will play host to Nettleton at 7 tonight for its Homecoming.



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