The Clarkdale Bulldogs slow-pitch softball team is heading to Jackson this Saturday to play for the Class 3A state championship.

Clarkdale closed out the Philadelphia Tornadoes in two games — 5-2 and 8-3 — in front of a home crowd Wednesday night in the South State championship series.

"Its always nice to be headed back to Jackson," Clarkdale coach Rick Roberson said.

The Bulldogs jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in game one as third baseman Abby Roberts singled to bring in Sarah Beckman. They would tack on one more run later in the inning as Amber Spann drove in a run with the bases loaded.

Philadelphia would battle back. Mykiesha Patterson drove in a run in the top of the third to bring the Tornadoes within a run. They would tie it up in the fourth with a double from Caitlin Bounds that brought LaJoya Griffin across the plate. That would be all the offense Philadelphia could produce in the first game, though.

Clarkdale was finally able to break the game open in the bottom of the fifth as Logan Bozeman singled to drive in a run. Beckman followed suit with an RBI double. Roberts would hit a sacrifice fly to cap the scoring for the Bulldogs.

Bozeman got things started for Clarkdale in the second game as she singled to plate a run in the second inning. Bozeman followed that up with a two-RBI single in the fourth. Kennedy Castleberry singled to drive in a run for a 4-0 lead.

Philadelphia again fought back after being down early. Sadiedra Black singled to bring in two runs. The closest the Tornadoes would come to the Bulldogs was at 4-3 when Griffin drove in a run.

Clarkdale then blew the game open in the top of the seventh. Sarah Harris drew a bases-loaded walk and then Spann stepped up and drilled a bases-clearing double for added insurance.

"We have six new starters on this young team this year and they have played well," Roberson said. "We've had close games this year and tonight wasn't our best. Hopefully we will bring our best Saturday."

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