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East Union rallies to go back-to-back in Class 2A

HATTIESBURG – For East Union to win its second straight state championship, it would have to respond after getting hit hard early.

The team did that and then some.

The Urchins overcame a three-run deficit to beat the Pisgah Dragons 11-3 in Game 2 of the Class 2A state finals on Wednesday afternoon at the Southern Miss Softball Complex.

“They fight for each other,” Urchins coach Josh Blythe said. “They have a love for each other that I can't even put into words.”

A wild pitch and a two-run home run off Lucy Cochran in the top of the first put the Urchins behind 3-0. They got two back in the bottom of the second on a sacrifice fly by Caroline Sherwood and a wild pitch that allowed Cochran to score.

Then in the third with runners on second and third with one out, Marley Clayton roped a go-ahead double to put East Union (30-4) ahead 4-3.

Blythe credited his team’s ability to play small ball with its rally, specifically bunting.

“We take a lot of pride in bunting,” he said. “We want to be one of the best bunting teams in Mississippi. That’s our philosophy. Sometimes it works great. Today it was fantastic.”

The Urchins have found themselves behind plenty of times these past two seasons. That experience, combined with taking things one inning at a time, paid dividends.

“That's the mentality. Don't look at the big picture right now and they do a fantastic job,” Blythe said. “They want you to tell them those things and keep it simple as far as philosophy. Keep it simple. So I couldn't be more happy.”

The Urchins added two runs in the fifth and four in the sixth before the day was over.

As for Cochran, she was able to settle in on the mound.

The freshman hurler went all seven innings, allowing eight hits while striking out five, including the final out of the game.

For Cochran, adjusting after the first came down to finding composure.

“I just had to get calm because I was really nervous,” she said. “But I just had to stay calm and push through it.”

Cochran had a team-high three hits and two RBIs to go with two runs scored. She was named the series MVP for the second year in a row.

Pisgah finished the season 27-9.

Extra Bases

Big Inning: Lily Johnson concluded the scoring in the bottom of the third with a one-run single to make it 5-3.

Big Stat: Wednesday was East Union’s 15th game scoring 10 or more runs.

Coach Speak: “It’s like I’ve got to pinch myself here. It’s just so incredibly hard to do. It's a valley, it's up and down. You’re on a mountain one day, you’re in a valley the next day and I just can't even describe what those kids are like." –Blythe, on winning the state championship