Desoto County Sports

Lewisburg softball edges Hernando to reach North Half finals

Photo: Lewisburg players gather during a break in the action of Saturday’s 3-2 series-clinching victory over Hernando. (Bob Bakken/

There would be no walk off this night and Leah Walker’s catch of the low line drive from Hayden Hodge in the seventh made sure of that in clinching the Lady Patriots’ 3-2 victory over Hernando in the final game of their MHSAA 6A third round best-of-three series Saturday night.  

The previous two games of the series this week were determined in walk off fashion, with Hernando’s Avery Taylor hitting a two-run home run to win game one on Thursday, and Friday’s game was determined when Lewisburg’s Kylie McCaskill singled in a run in the bottom of the seventh for a series-tying victory.  

Saturday night, Hernando opened the contest with a pair of runs when leadoff hitter Olivia Higginbotham scored on a passed ball and Ally Agner scored on a ground ball error. The pair of runs would be the only markers the Lady Tigers would muster for the remainder of the game.

Lewisburg tied the game in the fourth inning with one swing of the bat. Avery Williams hit a homerun over the center field wall with Leona Klaire Stokes on base to knot the game at 2-2.  

The winning run came in the top of the seventh. Leah Walker scored what would become the game-winning run when Kara Walker reached on an error.  

Callie Desmond opened the seventh with a line drive single for Hernando, but Avery Taylor struck out, a fielder’s choice forced Desmond out at second, followed by Leah Walker’s low line drive catch at third off the bat of Hodge to end the game. 

The series victory sends Lewisburg into the North Half finals for the third time in school history. The Lady Patriots will play South Panola, which ousted Madison Central 15-3 Saturday to move on in the postseason.  

“We played both of them in the regular season,” said Lewisburg coach Brooke Van de Vuurst. “I do know every time we play (South Panola) it’s a really good game. A lot of girls know each other and play each other, so I’m excited for a chippy North Half and a really good series, for sure.”  

Casey Ragget was the winning pitcher for Lewisburg, coming into the game in the second inning to relieve starter Emma Abrams. Ragget pitched six innings, did not give up a run, walked two and struck out seven. 

“It was nothing Emma did wrong,” Van de Vuurst said. “We went down 2-0 and I thought a little change of pace in tempo we kind of needed and it worked out in our favor.”  

Haylee Jackson took the pitching loss in relief for Hernando, allowing the game-winning run and also walked four. Kate Johnson started in the circle for the Lady Tigers, gave up two runs on the homer by Avery Williams, walked one and struck out two.  

Lewisburg is now 25-9 for the season and Van de Vuurst feels the bond her team has made has carried them through a difficult year, a year punctuated by the recent loss of a classmate in a traffic accident.  

“This team has been through a lot off the field, they’ve been through a lot personally in their lives,” Van de Vuurst said. “We kind of had to bond together and I’m really proud of them for that.”

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