After a runner-up performance in the 2011 state championship game, Mack Fanning and the Southeast Lauderdale slow-pitch team were determined to go the extra step in 2012 and bring the school its first slow-pitch state title.
“I think last year’s run left us with a little hungrier,” Fanning said. “We had that extra desire and will to win.”
The Tigers did just that this season, finishing the year 25-9 and capturing the 3A state title in dramatic fashion.
The Tigers chose the motto “lean on me” this season, and at times, the saying couldn’t have been anymore true. Southeast players rallied behind up-and-coming players Megan Chatham, Taylor Powell and Timara Trussell, as well as leadership from Denisha Knight, Katie Dawson and Brianna Roulier.
That togetherness came in handy during the Tigers return trip to Jackson this season. After losing the first game of a three-game series against South Pontotoc 15-11, the Tigers showed no quit.
Down 14-11 in the bottom of the seventh inning in Game 2, Dori Timms and Chatham strung together back-to-back singles to begin the inning. After a fly out from Dawson, Jasmine Bush delivered a double in the gap to cut the lead to 14-12. Two batters later with the bases loaded, Knight delivered a single up the middle to tie the game for the Tigers. Nancy Williams then brought Knight home on a ground ball past the shortstop to win the game.
The momentum carried on into Game 3, where the Tigers climbed out of an early 4-0 hole and held on to beat South Pontotoc 9-6 and deliver the first state championship in school history.
“These girls never fade,” Fanning said. “That comeback came from self-determination. That was our goal this season, to go up there and be on top. Fortunately we were able to accomplish that and win the first softball state title in school history.”