May 20—HATTIESBURG — Another big inning carried Taylorsville to a state softball title Friday.
Sparked by a six-run second inning, the Tartars topped Vardaman 9-5 in Game 3 of the Class 1A championship series. It's their third state title.
A day earlier, Taylorsville (25-7-2) used a six-run sixth to win Game 2. Vardaman won Game 1, 4-2.
"I told them this morning, 'We figured it out sixth inning. Sixth and seventh innings we had good at-bats. Let's carry that momentum into today,'" Taylorsville coach Adam Evans said. "And I felt like we did."
The Tartars collected 14 hits and were led by senior Emma Rankin. She was 3 of 4 with two doubles and two RBIs. Her two-run double highlighted the big second inning.
Rankin, the series MVP, had six hits over the last two games.
"We just had to have the right approach," Rankin said. "We didn't have that the first day. We went and worked on it, and now we do."
Rankin also did yeoman's work in the circle. She allowed eight hits, struck out three and walked one.
Vardaman (22-7) got on the board in the third when Makynlie Jones had a two-run single. Taylorsville scored three runs over the third and fourth innings, though, to make it 9-2.
Vardaman scored twice more in the fifth and once in the seventh, but Rankin was able to limit the damage.
"My coach helped me out a lot, calling pitches," she said. "I knew they were going to get hits, because they've faced me three times. It was hard, but I did it."
Big Inning: With the bases loaded in the second, Tinli Phillips was hit by a pitch, and Kylee Beth Moore followed with a two-run single. Rankin smoked a two-run double, and then a Latia Keyes RBI single made it 6-0.
Big Stat: Taylorsville was 7 of 11 with runners in scoring position.
Coach Speak: "It settled down toward the end, but our big Achilles' heel all year has been a big inning here and there, and it finally caught up with us the last two games." — Vardaman's Josh Hegwood