Photo/Zac Chamblee

Knowing his team controlled their own destiny, Purvis coach David Entrekin opted for a loose approach with his players in an effort to calm their nerves ahead of Tuesday’s regular season finale at Sumrall. Though Entrekin admits it was he who was tight all game long, it all worked out in the end. 

A win away from clinching their division crown, the Lady Tornadoes handled business at Sumrall, sweeping their regular season series against the Lady Bobcats with a 5-2 win. The victory moved Purvis to 8-2 in Region 7-4A and into a first place tie with Lawrence County, but the Lady Tornadoes gained the edge over the Lady Cougars by owning the tiebreaker. 

Entrekin says its Purvis’ first division championship in fast-pitch softball in at least 10 years. 

“Our division has been so tough with Lawrence County, Poplarville and Sumrall. There’s a lot of good teams,” he said. “Just, I couldn’t ask for a better group to win a division—a very tough division at that.

“I tell you what, they came ready to play. They wanted this.”

For a photo gallery of the game, click the following link: http://sports601.com/index.php/gallery-page-purvis-sumrall-softball/

The game started with Sarah Ballard driving in Purvis’ first run with an RBI double, and it ended with the Jones College commit striking out her 10th batter of the night. In between, the Lady Tornadoes used timely hits off Sumrall pitcher Brianna McCray, who also finished with double digit strikeouts, to seize control. 

Behind a pair of run-producing hits from Ballard and one apiece from Kaliegh Carr and Lily Curtis, the Lady Tornadoes were up 4-0 in the fourth inning. 

McCray put together a 1-2-3 inning with two strikeouts in the fifth to keep Sumrall within striking distance, and she, along with Brandi Bond, followed with RBI hits in the bottom of the frame to cut Purvis’ lead in half, 4-2. 

After Purvis answered with a run in the top of the sixth inning off the bat of Gracey Baucom, the Lady Bobcats attempted to put together a two-out rally in their half, bringing the potential tying run to the plate with baserunners on first and second. Ballard then collected one of many strikeouts on the night to end the inning and keep Purvis ahead by three runs. She proceeded to cruise through the seventh in pitching Purvis to the division crown.

“Sarah is just a bulldog in that circle,” Entrekin said. “She brought us through.”

The win earns Purvis a bye from this weekend’s play-in round, so the Lady Tornadoes will open the Class 4A playoffs next Monday on the road. Their opponent has yet to be determined. 

“We’re going in with some momentum after beating Lawrence County and Poplarville in the last week and a half,” Entrekin added. “It feels good, and I like our team going in.”

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