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Kosciusko Whippets overcome 4-hour rain delay, Sumrall to capture 2022 MHSAA 4A Softball Championship

The Whippets went back-to-back for the first time in program history

HATTIESBURG — If you want to see a rainbow, you have to put up with the rain.

And that’s exactly what the Kosciusko Whippets did Friday afternoon at the Southern Miss Softball Complex, weathering four and a half hours worth of delays before clinching the MHSAA 4A State Championship with a 10-1 win over Sumrall.

It was the second-straight state championship and third overall for the Whippet program.

“I guess its like every other time we’ve been down here,” Kosciusko coach Tony Terry said. “Something crazy is going to happen. But I’m really proud of this group, because we played, lost momentum, played again, sat out another hour and a half. We warmed up our pitcher three separate times.”

Each time, Anna Grace Whitehead answered the call. Going into Saturday’s winner-take-all Game 3, it felt like Kosciusko was going to hit the softball, but the pitching and defense had to be better than it was in Game 2 to pull off the repeat.

It certainly was — Whitehead went all seven innings, hurling 111 pitches and giving up one run on six hits and three walks with eight strikeouts. The defense played error-free ball behind her, retiring eight hitters via flyouts and five more on groundouts.

Whitehead and power-hitting third baseman Mary Kimble Price, who together make up the heart of the Whippet lineup, had both been relatively quiet over the first two games of the series. That changed in a big way Saturday, as Whitehead went 2-for-4 with a double and two RBIs and Price launched a two-run bomb to give Kosciusko the early 2-0 lead.

Price launched her homer on a 2-2 pitch with one out and Blaine aboard at second base.

“I hadn’t hit well in the series, so I was just trying to focus and get a pitch I could handle. But our coach is very superstitious, and we counted eight horses on the way down here the other day, and we counted 11 today, so we knew we were going to get it done.”

The Whippets (32-4) pounded out 13 total hits. Junior centerfielder Campbell Blaine led the way, going 3-for-4 and scoring twice to earn MVP honors. Maicee Coleman went 2-for-3 and scored two runs.

“We hit the ball well pretty much the whole series,” Terry said. “You have to give Sumrall credit. Their outfield was phenomenal. They took a lot of hits away from us in this series. Especially that right fielder (Anna Beth Shows). But M.K. and Anna Grace are great hitters and we felt like they were going to get it going.”

As sweet as the win was for Kosciusko, it was just as frustrating for Sumrall. The Bobcats (27-10) got a couple of hits out of sophomore Ashlyn Burkhalter and eighth grader Ashton Stringfellow, but they couldn’t ever seem to string them together against Whitehead.

“I’m proud of our girls for fighting all the way to the end,” Sumrall coach Dodie Robertson said. “We won district for the first time in program history, got here for the first time in program history, and they have a lot to be proud of.

“It was just hard to get into any kind of rhythm today, we stopped, then we started back and gave up a couple of critical runs, then stopped again, then came back an hour and a half later. It was just kind of chaotic. But hats off to Kosciusko, they are a great team and well-coached.”

(All photos by Austin Frayser)

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