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East Webster ambushes defending champion Lake in MHSAA 2A Softball Championship series opener

The Wolves pounded out 13 hits en route to a 10-run rule win over the 2021 champs

HATTIESBURG — The defending 2A Softball Champion Lake Hornets haven’t had much go their way lately. After losing three starters due to injury, the remaining Hornets dug deep to make it back to the title series.

If they want to extend it, they’ll have to regroup quickly after Wednesday’s 14-1 thrashing at the hands of North State champion East Webster.

The Wolverines put it on the Hornets from the outset —they scored three runs in the first inning and extended the lead to 4-0 in the third.

Lake finally got one run back in the fourth to cut it to 4-1, but East Webster poured it on with three runs in the fifth and seven more in the sixth to get the 10-run rule win.

“We put ourselves into good spots and got the momentum early,” East Webster coach John Harris said. “We’ve got a good group of juniors and seniors, and on this stage, they don’t back down. They just played the way they did to get us here.”

Eight different East Webster players recorded hits. Emma Jennings had three, Hallie Beth Reed had two (with two RBIs) and Nashlynn Vickers and Peyton Flora each kicked in two more.

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Liz Massey got the win in the circle, going all six innings and allowing one earned run on seven hits and one walk with three strikeouts.

“It was huge for us to come out and jump on them early, because we’ve had teams do it to us and we know how much pressure that puts on you,” Reed said. “We know they are going to come back and be ready to play in Game Two. They’ll make their adjustments and we have to keep the bats going.”

For Lake, Wednesday’s game was one of the more frustrating of the post-season, and the regular season for that matter. The Hornets committed six errors, stranded seven runners, recorded no two-out RBIs and allowed four.

Adyson McKnight and Brantlee McGee provided the only fireworks for the Lake offense, with both of them going 2-for-3 at the plate. But the Hornets got out-hit 13-7, and the defensive miscues didn’t help.

“There’s no team in any class that made the playoffs that we can beat if we commit seven errors,” Lake coach Jake Loper said. “(The official scorer) had us with six, but we counted seven. We just can’t win that way. We just have to regroup, get back to playing the kind of softball we know we are capable of playing and try to get back into this series. I think you’ll see a different team.”

Game Two is set for 3 p.m. Friday. If necessary, Game Three would be Saturday at a time to be determined.