St. Patrick High School last won a state fast pitch softball championship in 2014 when the Lady Fighting Irish captured the Class 3A state title.
On Thursday on the Southern Miss softball complex in Hattiesburg, St. Patrick battled Lake in game one of the best-of-three state finals. Lake jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the top of third inning on a bases loaded walk. The Lady Hornets extended their lead 2-0 in the top of the fifth inning on a fly ball to right field that was dropped with a runner on third base and two outs.
St. Patrick would close the gap 2-1 in the bottom of the fifth on a hit off the bat of Anna Grace Castanedo that drove home the first run for the Lady Fighting Irish.
St. Patrick would plate two more runs in the bottom of the sixth inning. Raylen Blackwell led off the inning with a double to left field, a ball that flew over the Lake left fielder. Sarah D'Aquilla ripped a single down the third base line and the game was tied 2-all.
Kristin Walkers would belt a sacrifice fly ball into left field with a runner on third base. That would get the go-ahead run to home plate, with the Lady Fighting Irish three outs away from taking game one.
Anna D'Aquilla would get the job done tossing 13 strikeouts on the day, while giving up four hits.
D'Aquilla said, "It's not always how you start. It's always how you finish. Even in the beginning of our season we were rough and we're here in the state championship. The start of the game was a little rough, but we pulled it out."
However the last play of the game saw the Lake hitter propel a deep fly ball into center field, but Raylen Blackwell kept her eye on the ball and make a super catch up against the fence preserving a 3-2 St. Patrick victory.
Blackwell said, "That ball, I knew it was close to going over. If I had to like jump up on the fence, stick my cleat in that fence to get over it, I was going to get the ball. We needed those three outs get the game won."
Coach Tommy Castanedo said, "We've got to come out tomorrow with the same intensity. That Lake group over there is a tough group. They're scrappy. They've got a good little pitcher in the circle. We just got some timely hits and we need to clean up a few fielding mistakes. We'll try to knock it out tomorrow."
Lake and St. Patrick clash 1:30 Friday afternoon at the Southern Miss softball complex in Hattiesburg.
Class 6A Fast Pitch softball finals, game one: DeSoto Central beat Harrison Central 4-1. Red Rebelettes face a must-win beginning 6:30 p.m. Friday in Hattiesburg.
Class 5A Fast Pitch softball finals, game one: Neshoba Central defeated Pearl River Central 3-0. Lady Blue Devils need a win Friday night at the softball complex on the Mississippi State campus in Starkville.
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