from staff reports
The Meridian Star
Just one more win.
That's how far away the Enterprise Lady Bulldogs are from closing out an amazing season. After beginning the year 4-8, EHS has won 15 of their last 19 games, including Friday afternoon's 6-3 win over East Webster in the MHSAA Class 2A Fast-Pitch Softball Championships.
"She really had control of her game today, especially her change-up," EHS head coach Davey Dewitt said of Harper. "That's her big pitch and she can throw it anytime she wants to for a strike. That gives her an edge."
She used that edge over-and-over on Friday afternoon, keeping the Lady Wolverines off balance, striking out seven while not giving up a walk.
The Lady Bulldogs used an RBI bunt and a pair of clutch doubles to build a 6-0 lead after four innings, before East Webster rallied for three runs in the sixth.
"That's something we've been doing," Dewitt said of getting ahead early and then seeing the lead dwindle. "I don't know if we get a lead and think Hayleigh's on the mound and we've got it from there or what. We just seem to relax a bit."
East Webster used three singles and two EHS errors to cut it to 6-3 in the top of the sixth, but Harper worked around one error in the top of the seventh without much trouble, striking out the final batter to end the game.
The two teams meet today at 10 a.m. at Freedom Ridge Park for Game 2 in the best-of-three championship series. A third game, if needed, will be played in the afternoon.
After the Lady Bulldogs went up 1-0 on an RBI single by Harper in the first inning, they responded with a three-spot in the second to seemingly take control of the game.
After Delaney Davidson and Jess Turner singled to begin the inning, Lauren Smith rolled a well-executed bunt all the way into right field to score Davidson from second.
"I was just trying to get the ball past the pitcher and I wound up on second base," Smith said. "I wasn't expecting that."
"That was big for us," Dewitt said "I was just trying to get another runner on base and we wound up scoring on the play.”
One out later Brittany Hagwood mashed a two-run double to the left-field fence to seal the big inning.
"That was a big, big hit for us," Dewitt said. "She really needed that. I think that gave her a little boost."
Smith delivered an RBI bloop double just over the shortstop's head in the third inning to put the winners up 5-0, with Harley Smith driving in Enterprise's sixth run of the game with a sacrifice fly to left in the fourth.
The Lady Bulldogs had 10 hits on the game, with Davidson leading the way with three singles, while Smith and Hagwood had a double and single each.
Enterprise is seeking its third fast-pitch state title, having won the crown in 2010 and 2011. East Webster won four consecutive championships from 2006-2009.