Together again naturally!
Kosciusko and West Lauderdale softball have met seven times in the past two seasons and will meet at least twice more in the 4A North State final.
West Lauderdale won both regular season games last year and the first game in the North State final. The Lady Whippets won the next two on their way to the state championship and the two regular season game this year, both in eight innings.
They will meet again after Kosciusko swept Pontotoc 3-2 and 4-2 and West Lauderdale rebounded from an opening game loss to Houston with two victories. The first game will be at Kosciusko Friday, the second at West Lauderdale Saturday and the third, if necessary, at Kosciusko Monday.
“This is the seventh straight year that we have made it to the North State final,” said Kosciusko coach Tony Terry. “It says a lot about how hard the kids work and their dedication to what we do.”
He was impressed with Pontotoc. “They played really, really hard. Their pitcher is really good. But I was proud of us,” said Terry. “We had enough timely hits.”
Anna Grace Whitehead pitched both games for Kosciusko, allowing 12 hits and two walks with 11 strikeouts in 14 innings. She also had the big hit in the 3-2 game, a two-run homer in the fifth following a single by Mary Kimble Price that broke a 1-1 tie.
Two walks and an error produced Kosciusko's first run in the first inning. Pontotoc pulled within a run in the sixth on a triple by Allie Beckley and an infield error. Whitehead pitched around a two-out error in the seventh to nail down the win.
In the 4-2 game, Kosciusko scored twice in third for a 2-1 lead on a double by Alexandra West, a single by Makynlee Dickerson, and an RBI grounder by Price. After Pontotoc tied the game in the top of the fourth on a leadoff home run by Sadie Stegall, the Whippets scored twice in the bottom of the inning on a walk to Campbell Blaine, a single by Gracie Williams, and two ground outs.
Whitehead protected the lead with one-hit ball over the final three innings.
West, Kosciusko's catcher, threw out a would-be base stealer in each game. Channing Lane singled with one out in the second inning of the 3-2 game but was thrown out by West attempting to swipe second. In the 4-2 game, Allie Beckley lead off the first with a single, but was cut down attempting to take second.
Kosciusko won the 2021 championship in a memorable three-game series with North Pike, and we could be headed for a rematch. North Pike plays Sumrall in the South State final.
The 4A championship series will be played at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, beginning May 18.