No sweat: Mantachie blows past St. Patrick in Game 1

HATTIESBURG – For the first time in a while, Mantachie’s softball team had a stress-free outing.

The Mustangs hit the ball early and often and rolled past St. Patrick 13-0 in five innings in Game 1 of the MHSAA Class 3A state finals at the Southern Miss Softball Complex on Wednesday.

Mantachie’s previous seven playoff games were decided by an average of 2.6 runs, including a pair of 3-2 wins over Kossuth in the North half series. There was no such drama on this day.

“It definitely makes you feel better. You’re not as uptight as usual,” junior third baseman Allysa Gray said.

The Mustangs (32-5) scored two runs in each of the first two innings. Allie Ensey had a big hand in both frames, hitting a leadoff double in the first and crushing a two-run homer in the second.

The sophomore finished the day 3 for 3 with three runs scored.

“Allie set the tone,” Mantachie coach Kristi Montgomery said. “I knew with the girl throwing a little slower than what we’re used to seeing, she has the ability to go with power.”

The Mustangs pushed their lead to 7-0 with a three-run fourth, which was aided by two St. Patrick errors.

Six more runs scored in the fifth, with Gray launching a grand slam to make it 13-0.

“All my home runs, I never was thinking about it, not even a bit. I never got up there like, I’m fixing to hit a home run,” Gray said.

Mantachie finished with 10 hits. St. Patrick (23-13) had zero hits against Ramsey Montgomery, who struck out six and walked two. It wasn’t the senior’s sharpest outing, but it was more than good enough.

“We didn’t throw it nearly as hard as we normally throw it, but we did a good job of locating it to try and keep them off balance,” Kristi Montgomery said.

Game 2 is Thursday at noon. Mantachie is seeking its first state title.

Extra Bases

Big Inning: Mantachie blew the game open in the fourth with three runs. Gray had an RBI single in the inning.

Big Stat: Mantachie had seven two-out RBIs.

Coach Speak: “It’s huge that we came out and scored a good many runs.” – Montgomery