By Jamie Wachter / Sports Editor
The Meridian Star
Enterprise had definitely been here before. But it wasn't the experience the Bulldogs hoped to draw from.
For the second time in four seasons, anything that could go wrong, did for Enterprise against Hamilton in a Class 2A state championship series. This time at Freedom Ridge Park, the defending state champions were swept aside 13-7 and 9-5.
"It was the same thing and against the same team," Enterprise coach Davey Dewitt said after the Bulldogs finished 19-11 in his first season at the helm.
The deja vu came mostly in the second inning of both games.
Leading 3-1 in the first game after a two-run double from Harley Smith and an RBI single from Emmalee Roberts in the first, Enterprise retires two of the first three Lions — 27-5 and winners of their final 23 games — in the second when Hamilton went to work. Playing in the larger fields at Freedom Ridge, the Bulldogs outfield had difficulty tracking down long fly balls. Alison Atkins took advantage with an RBI ground-rule double and after Taylor Hyland singled to drive in the tying run, Hamilton took the lead for good on Cheyenne Logan's single. The Lions sent 10 hitters to bat in the five-run frame.
"You come over here and it's just different," Dewitt said. "It's a different outfield. It's bigger and when you're not used to playing on it, it's hard to adjust and by the time we adjusted, we were already in a hole."
Enterprise climbed within 6-4 in the fourth as Haleigh Harper drew a bases loaded walk with two outs. But the Lions escapes further damage and then added three more runs in the bottom half.
The Bulldogs had one more push in Game 1, as Blakely Riley's two-out single scored Brittany Hagwood from first and Harper then unloaded on a two-run home run that easily cleared the temporary 250-foot fences.
But again Hamilton answered. The Lions pushed across four in the bottom of the sixth as Hyland singled in two more.
Game 2 followed a similar storyline as Enterprise struck in the first inning, as Jess Turner followed Smith's two-out single with a two-run triple. Turner was thrown out at the plate trying for the inside-the-park home run and the Lions carried that momentum into the second.
Following an inning-opening out where Lauren Smith crashed into the fence in right-center to track down Christy Willis' blast, the next 10 Lions reached as the Bulldogs again struggles to chase down and haul in fly balls. In all 13 Hamilton batters hit in the nine-run inning.
"We make a couple errors on some fly balls and it just snowballed from there," Dewitt said. "You can't give a team like that, as good as they hit the ball, any extra outs."
Smith limited the Lions to just three hits the rest of the way but the damage was already done.
The Bulldogs added one run in the second as Roberts opened with a double and scored on a Kaleigh Russell groundout. Enterprise scored two more in the sixth as Hagwood singled and following a walk to Riley, Harper delivered an RBI single. Riley then scored on a double play groundball.