By Molly Seales
The Riverdale Lady Rebels continue to make school history, going 3-0 in the Class AA State Tournament in Magee, MS. They set themselves up to be the home team in the best 2 out of 3 championship series against Humphreys Academy, which will begin Wednesday, October 6, in East Point. Game time is 2:00 p.m. Game 2 will be Thursday, October 7, at 2:00 p.m. at Humphreys Academy in Belzoni, MS. If needed, game 3 will be on Saturday, October 9, at Riverdale Academy at 1:00 p.m.
Riverdale won their first game by a forfeit from their opponent, Columbus Christian. For the second game, which was at 3:00 p.m. Saturday, October 2, against Briarfield Academy, junior pitchers Jessie Kate Cobb and Emma Nell Clemons combined for a 13-0 shutout of Briarfield Academy, with Cobb getting the win and Clemons the save. This win set the stage for a re-match against Humphreys Academy, who they defeated 16-15 to win the South AA Championship last week. The Lady Rebels took on Humphreys again at noon on Monday, October 4, with the winner automatically advancing to the championship series. In dramatic fashion, the Lady Rebels won 14-13. Emma Clemons got the win in the circle.
Saturday, October 2, was freshman catcher Jadyn King’s 15th birthday, and it wasn’t a day she will soon forget. In the win over Briarfield, Riverdale committed 0 errors, with King having three defensive chances, the most on the team. The birthday girl got it done on the offensive side as well, going 3 for 3 at the plate, with 2 RBIs and scored a run. Freshman Haylee Smith kept her hot bat going with a hit, 3 RBIs, and 3 runs scored, while Clemons had a hit, an RBI, and scored a run. Freshman Chloe Jordan had 2 RBIs and scored a run, while Cobb added an RBI. 8th grader Hanna Catherine Huddleston had an RBI and scored 3 runs. 8th grader Mary Claire Jones had an RBI and scored 2 runs, while senior Renee Prosperie had an RBI and scored a run. Courtesy runners 8th grader Gracie Stephens and sophomore Sky McMullan each scored a run. Huddleston had 2 stolen bases, and Stephens and Jones had 1 stolen base each.
Monday, October 4, was a perfect day for softball as the Lady Rebels took the field in Magee, once again against Humphreys Academy. It was a close, low scoring game as the Lady Rebels entered the top of the 6th inning ahead by a score of 5-2. The top of the 6th proved to be disastrous for the Lady Rebels, as they committed 7 uncharacteristic errors, which allowed Humphreys to score 11 runs in the top of the 6th. The Lady Rebels were down 13-5 going into the bottom of the 6th, but they fought back, picking up 4 runs, which made it 13-9. The Lady Rebels came together as a team and held Humphreys to zero runs in the top of the 7th, but they still had a daunting task ahead of them going into the bottom of the 7th inning. They knew they had to score 4 to tie and 5 to win. The Lady Rebels began to claw their way back, one hit-one base-one run, at a time. With the bases loaded and 2 outs, Riverdale trailed Humphreys 13-12. King entered the batter’s box and got two quick strikes. She stepped out of the box to compose her thoughts, and then the Humphreys pitcher threw two balls, making the count 2-2. King once again stepped out of the box and as she stepped back in, the pitcher quickly threw her a pitch. King drove the softball to right field, getting a walk-off stand up double and watched Rylee Kate Woodard and Haylee Smith score to give the Lady Rebels the 14-13 victory, which sent them into the championship series.
I caught up with Jadyn and asked her what her thoughts were as she went up to bat with the bases loaded and two outs. She said, “My thoughts when I went up to the plate were first of all nervous ones. Then I was steadily telling myself, ‘You can’t lose this game, you know you can do it, so just do it.’ Every time I go up to the plate, I always point my bat toward God and say, ‘I give all the glory to God.’ I was saying that a little extra today. Also, every at bat I draw a cross on the corner of the batter’s box to remind myself of Who is in control of the game. I did it for my team today. We have worked hard all year, and we deserved the win. Then when I hit the ball, my heart fluttered and I could breathe. I was full of excitement and emotions. Let’s just say God is good, and I give all the glory to Him.”
In the victory over Humphreys, the Lady Rebels had 9 hits. King had 2 hits, including her walk-off double, and 3 RBIs. Renee Prosperie also had 2 hits, 1 RBI, and scored 2 runs. Haylee Smith had a hit, 3 RBIs, and scored the game-winning run. Rylee Kate Woodard had a hit, an RBI, and scored 4 runs. Jessie Kate Cobb, Julia Grace Riggs, and Mary Claire Jones each had a hit, with Jones also scoring 2 runs. Hanna Catherine Huddleston and Emma Clemons each scored a run, while courtesy runner Sky McMullan scored 3 runs. Jones had 2 stolen bases, while McMullan and Prosperie had 1 stolen base each. In the two games, the Lady Rebels had 51 at bats and struck out only 3 times.
There are no words to describe how proud the Riverdale family is of our Lady Rebel softball team for their history making season. Volunteer coaches Tabitha King and Rodney Cobb have devoted countless hours to these girls, and their sacrifice has paid off. I think I speak for all of Riverdale when I give these coaches a huge thank you and the softball girls a huge congratulations! We are so proud of you all! Wear white, and come out and support your Lady Rebels at 2:00 p.m. Wednesday! Admission is $10 for students and adults.
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