HATTIESBURG — George County’s Sidnee Beech was anything but a day at one for Saltillo in the Class 5A State Softball championship.
The Lady Rebel standout junior kicked sand in the face of the Lady Tigers for the second straight day here at the Southern Miss Softball Complex, as her two-out RBI-single in the bottom of the sixth inning gave George County its first fast-pitch softball state title in school history with a 2-1 win early Thursday night.
That decision, coupled with Wednesday’s 5-2 win, allowed the Lady Rebels to sweep the best-of-three series and sent the players, coaches and fans of George County into a jubilant Hub City celebration.
Beech had a game-high four hits in the game one win as well.
The win moved head coach Kasey McCann’s squad to a school record 30-4 record to finish the historic season. The Lady Rebels won 10 out of their final 11 games of the season and went unbeaten in the postseason at 8-0.
“I really don’t have the words to say how much this means”, an emotional McCann, with a gold medallion draped around her neck, said. “I’m so proud of these girls and this school and this community. Everyone believed in us and that we could do it.”
The Lady Tigers took their only lead of the series early in the second stanza Thursday, to make it 1-0.
George County knotted the contest up at 1-1 in the bottom of the third frame when Jordyn Bradley led things off with a triple and scored on a passed ball two outs later. That set the stage for Beech’s shining moment a few frames later.
Saltillo set the first two GCHS batters in quick fashion, before Natalie Jones slapped a double to deep left field. Senior Ashton Fairley was then walked intentionally, and Beech stepped up and drove home Jones with a single to right field for the eventual winning run. “Honestly, I just knew it was my time and that my teammates were counting on me.” Beech said. “We all knew what was riding on this game, and how important it was. We had to come through and get it done”
George County’s number two pitcher Addison Davis, who came up with a big game two win on the road over East Central to clinch the South State crown last week, again was solid in an even bigger game two on Thursday as she started and went six innings scattering just two hits and striking out three while allowing the lone SHS run.
Lady Rebel ace Peyton Collins, who picked up the game one win with a complete game performance on Wednesday against SHS, was called on by McCann to finish out the history-making win in the top of the seventh, and despite working her way into a bit of a jam by allowing two runners to reach she struck out the final SHS hitter of the game to seal the win. The eighth-grader Collins was named the Most Valuable Player for the series thanks to her work on the mound.
George County finished with four hits in the win, and Jones had half of them. Saltillo managed just two hits.
Saltillo fought its way into the title round by upsetting perennial state power Neshoba Central in the North State finals two games to one. Neshoba had won the last nine Class 5A state championships.
But today, that crown sits atop the heads of the George County Lady Rebels.