The Meridian Star
The hits were flowing, Hayleigh Harper was dealing and nothing was stopping the Enterprise softball team as they took down Clarkdale 11-1 in the third round of the 2A state playoffs Saturday night in Clarkdale.
Harper pitched all seven innings for the Bulldogs and struck out six batters, as Enterprise will now head home needing only one win to advance to South State.
“She's gotten better every game,” Enterprise head coach Davey Dewitt said of Harper. “She has kind of worked herself into shape as the year has gone on. She's pitching it real good right now.
“Having a dominant strikeout-pitcher, it makes a big difference.”
Enterprise took the home-town crowd out of it early, scoring five runs in the top of the second before rallying again for four runs in the top of the third to take a commanding 9-0 lead early in the game.
“I told the girls, getting out to a fast start is key,” Dewitt said. “When you play on the road in the best-of-three series, you have to jump on them early. If you jump out on somebody early on the road, you can get them down. A team like Clarkdale, they are hard to get down, but that's the key is getting on them early.”
Enterprise tormented Clarkdale on the bases, using an aggressive approach to constantly move runners into scoring position.
“That's what we have done all year,” Dewitt said. “That's why I didn't want to play until the field conditions we good. We have run all year. We steal bases, and I wanted to make sure we had a dry field to do that with.”
Enterprise will now move the series back home, with a doubleheader beginning at 5:30 p.m on Monday. Dewitt said he needs all the support he can get from hometown fans with South State and bragging rights on the line.
“This is a big rivalry,” Dewitt said. “These games are huge, this is a big series especially with these two schools here.
“That's going to be a big game Monday night, and we are going to need a big crowd there, because I know Clarkdale is going to bring its people. Having the home-field advantage is nice, but when these two teams play, you never know what is going to happen.”