CLINTON — The Silliman softball team did what it had to do in the clutch.
The Lady Wildcats swept two victories from Leake Academy on Oct. 8 in Madden, Mississippi, to claim the three-game championship series and earn a second straight Mississippi Association of Independent Schools Class 3A championship.
After losing to Leake 3-1 earlier in the week in Clinton, pitcher Kennedy Carruth came back with a 12-5 victory in the first game and capped the season with a 3-2 triumph in the second.
It was the Lady Wildcats’ third championship since 2005. They also were runner-ups in 2010 and 2012, fourth in 2011 and 2014 and third in 2013.
The Lady Wildcats jumped out to an early lead and pounded out 17 hits in the first game. The championship came down to the second game, and it was a nail-bitter, even after Ryleigh McManus belted a solo homer to give Silliman the 3-2 lead.
“I felt like we had the team to get it done,” said Silliman coach Trae Weaver. ”We had to win the first game to make it happen, and we won that one. The second game was a touch-and-go game, and we left a lot of base runners. But we got a home run in the top of the seventh and held them in the bottom of the seventh to win.”
Carruth finished the season with a 33-4 record, including 2-1 in the championship series with 15 strikeouts. She also went 4 for 12 at the plate for the three-game series.
Kayla McNabb went 8 for 12 with two RBIs, McManus went 4 for 8 with 3 RBIs, Alex Jackson went 4 for 11 with 3 RBIs, and Maggie Brian went 3 for 10 with a home run and 3 RBIs.
The Lady Wildcats enjoyed a stellar year with a 35-6 record. They went 8-0 in District 5-3A to claim their eighth straight district title and 4-0 to claim their seventh straight South State Championship.
“Leake and Silliman have been the top two programs for the past eight years, and it was good to be able to beat them again in the final and come out on top,” said Weaver.