The St. Patrick Lady Fighting Irish are sitting on top of the mountain after claiming the 2A State fast pitch softball championship in Hattiesburg on Friday. St. Patrick held off Lake 7-5 for a two-game sweep over the Lady Hornets.
On a hot steamy day in Hattiesburg, St. Patrick won its first state title since they captured the 3A state title in 2014. It was the fourth softball title for the Lady Fighting Irish since 2012.
Anna Castanedo led off the game with a single. St. Patrick would load the bases when Lady Fighting Irish pitcher Anna D'Aquilla stepped up to the plate. The senior belted a double into right field. Castanedo and Raylen Blackwell scored to give St. Patrick the early lead.
Lake would tie the game in the bottom of the first. Hanna Wilkerson hit a single into left field. Taylor Duncan came home and the Lady Hornets trailed 2-1.
Olivia Clay dropped a single into right field and the game was tied 2-all. Lake was threatening to take the lead when St. Patrick shortstop came up with a heads up play. She gloved a grounder, threw to home plate where catcher Raven Blackwell tagged the runner for the second out in the inning.
Kirstin Walters led off the top of the fourth inning for St. Patrick with a single into left field. Lake pitcher Taylor Duncan had trouble finding home plate. St. Patrick added four runs on one hit. Duncan walked the bases loaded three times and the Lady Fighting Irish scored on a wild pitch to take a 6-2 lead.
Bottom of the seventh, Hanna Wilkerson singled home Lake's fifth run of the game to close the gap 7-5. With two outs, D'Aquilla would toss a strikeout to secure the Class 2A State title. The players hugged, jumped for joy, and celebrated . There were tears of joy as coach Tommy Castanedo awarded the girls medals and the Lady Fighting Irish raised the state trophy high in the air.
Coach Castanedo said, "Can't say enough about Anna D'Aquilla, Raven and Raylen Blackwell and Kirstin Walters. Those seniors led the charge all year. Anna has done a yeoman job in the circle. I just can't say enough."
D'Aquilla wasn't as sharp as she was on the mound on Thursday in a 2-1 win over Lake, but when you consider she pitched 14 innings over the last two days, what a performance by the senior who says she won't be playing softball when she attends Ole Miss in the fall. She will always remember her days playing softball at St. Patrick.
"We're so excited, "stated D'Aquilla. The last time the seniors and juniors had won a state championship was our 8th grade year. their 7th grade year. We're so excited to bring it back to St. Patrick."
Catcher Raven Blackwell said, "It's an unbelievable feeling of accomplishment of all of what you've done. How hard you've worked this season."
DeSoto Central captured the 6A fast pitch softball state championship by beating Harrison Central 3-1 and Neshoba Central beat Pearl River Central to claim the 5A softball title.
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