ENNIS — The North Hopkins Lady Panthers are one step from the big goal.
“Every team starts the year wanting to go to state,” North Hopkins head softball coach Jim Westbrook said. “We’re just one series win away.”
The Lady Panthers will play Lindsay in a best-of-three series starting Wednesday in the Region II Class 1A girls softball finals.
Game 1 is at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at McKinney High School; Game 2 is 1 p.m. Saturday at the same location; Game 3 (if needed) will followed at 3 p.m.
The Lady Panthers reached this point by sweeping a regional semifinal series in Ennis from Valley Mills.
North Hopkins took an 8-2 win in the first game and slipped by the Lady Eagles 3-2 in 10 innings in the second game Saturday which decided the series.
Game 2 was a contest decided by late singles off the bats of Liz Shaw, Tana Hall and P.K. Harlin.
North Hopkins took a 1-0 lead in the third inning. The Lady Eagles tied the game at 1-1 in top of the seventh forcing extra innings. Waco Mills scored one run in the top of the 10th to go ahead 2-1. The Lady Panthers scored twice in the bottom of the 10th to claim the win and the series.
Chastin Smiddy pitched all 10 innings, fanning 10, walking none allowing eight hits and two runs.
Courtney Loper and Tana Hall were 2-for-5; Smiddy, 2-for-4, one run scored; Jessica Harry, 1-for-4, one run; Shaw, 1-for-4, one run and Grace Cox, 1-for-4.
Ali Jobe pitched a complete game for Valley Mills and took the loss, striking out two, walking three, allowing three runs off 10 hits.
“The game was a squeaker, you have to win those along the way if you want to advance,” Westbrook said, “Our pitching and defense was superior, that’s why we won. Jessica Harry at shortstop had an outstanding game, she started a double play and had some other big catches.”
Game 2 Regional semifinal
Valley Mills 000-000-100-1 2-8-3
North Hopkins 001-000-000-2 3-10-1
W- Smiddy; L-Jobe
Next up- North Hopkins vs. Lindsay, Class 1A, Region II finals, McKinney High School.
Game 1- Wednesday, 7:30 p.m.
Game 2- Saturday, 1 p.m.; Game 3- Saturday, 3 p.m., if needed.
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