Mount Hope, Speake go 2-2 in state tourney
By Brooke Milam
MONTGOMERY — When Mount Hope was eliminated from the Class 1A state softball tournament in Montgomery with an 11-3 loss to Pleasant Home on Saturday, Speake High knew exactly how the Lady Yellow Jackets felt.
Speake was eliminated a few hours earlier with a 1-0 loss to the same team.
The Lawrence County schools both set school records for wins this year, Speake with 40 victories and Mount Hope with 31, and both made a statement in the tournament.
Both went 2-2 in the 1A state tournament at Lagoon Park, including season-ending losses Saturday.
“This is where you always want to end your season — in Montgomery at Lagoon,” said Speake coach Doyle Hensley. “A lot of great teams didn’t even make it here, and we’re proud to be some of the ones that did.”
Mount Hope finished third, making the school’s first-ever trip to the state tournament in fast pitch. Speake’s last trip to the state tournament was in 2004.
“We’ve beaten some good teams,” Mount Hope coach Larry Kimbrough said.
“Maybe we’ll be back next year, and they’ll remember us.”
Both squads also had two seniors.
After Saturday, Speake will regroup to do without seniors Revia Brown and Whitney Sparks, who have been essential in the Lady Bobcats success since they were in middle school.
Mount Hope’s seniors, Elizabeth Kimbrough and Delanea Bean, are creating holes on
the Mount Hope roster next season.
“I’m really going to miss them. They’ve been a great part of this program and they’ll always be Lady Cats,” Hensley said of Brown and Sparks. “Two great players.”
Both head coaches said assistant coaches, Speake’s assistants Wayne Harris and Phil Black, and Mount Hope assistant Roger Craig, have helped them to standout seasons.
“This is one of my most enjoyable seasons out of my 10 years at Speake, so far,” Hensley said.
Kinston 5, Mount Hope 1: Mount Hope went ahead 1-0 in the first inning before Kinston grabbed a 2-1 lead in the second that it would not give up.
Kinston put up three more runs in the seventh for the final margin.
Mount Hope had eight hits in the contest, led by Morgan Davis, who went 3-for-4 with three singles and scored the Lady Jackets’ lone run.
Chelsea Fike was 2-for-4 with a pair of singles, and Amber Lynch had a double, a single and an RBI.
Haley Flannagan also delivered a single.
Kimbrough pitched the complete game for Mount Hope and struck out four.
Pleasant Home 11, Mount Hope 3: Mount Hope was down 3-0 in the fourth before bringing the score to 3-1 when Fike scored the Lady Jackets first run. It was as close as Mount Hope would come.
Pleasant Home was up 11-1 before Mount Hope put up its final runs in the bottom of the seventh inning.
Kimbrough struck out seven for Mount Hope.
Davis had two singles and two RBIs for Mount Hope. Fike and Colie Stancil each had a single, and Stancil added an RBI. Anna Roberson and Britany McCormack each contributed a single.
Speake 4, Waterloo 0: Kylie Black went the distance, allowing eight hits while striking out eight to push the Lady Bobcats into the losers’ bracket semifinals against Pleasant Home. She aided her win at the plate by going 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored. Paige Atkins went 1-for-3, but had three RBIs in the sixth inning when she doubled home Black, Sarah Bolan and Bridget Fulks.
Pleasant Home 1, Speake 0: Speake was eliminated in a rematch from the opening round of the tournament, which Speake had won 7-2.
Brittany Ward put up a run for Pleasant Home in the bottom of the fourth, knocked in by Jessi Reeves for a 1-0 Lady Raiders’ lead.
Needing a rally in the seventh, Speake left the game-tying run on second base.
Kylie Black pitched the complete game for Speake, striking out four.
Bolan and Fulks each had a single — Speake’s only hits in the contest.
“The first game, we jumped on them,” Hensley said.
“Today, we just never got the hits back-to-back like we did in the first game we played them.”
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