No. 11 Jesup rips Hawks in 2A regional semifinal

JESUP – The clock struck midnight on South Hamilton’s Cinderella-style run through the Class 2A Region 6 softball bracket here Friday night.

And Jesup had nine wicked stepsisters willing and able to send the Hawks home empty-handed.

The 11th-ranked J-Hawks (27-12) scored three runs in the first inning to put South Hamilton (11-21) back on its heels and they put the game away with a seven-run fourth inning on their way to an 11-0, 5-inning rout.

“Jesup is a good team and they came out and hit the ball hard,” South Hamilton head coach Laura Read said. “We had to be on our ‘A’ game to compete with them and we just weren’t.”

The Hawks committed five errors in the field, leading to six unearned runs.

Jesup strung together eight hits, highlighted by a triple off the bat of Tessa Clayton, who drove in a game-high three runs. Ally Flaucher and Paige Jensen both collected two RBIs.

J-Hawk pitcher Kelsey Lough kept the Hawks stuck in neutral throughout. She allowed just one hit – a single to left field by Kayla Lucas – and struck out seven.

Brittany Nicholson suffered the loss in the circle. She fanned two and walked three.

It was a bitter end to a surprising postseason run for the Hawks, who knocked off Colfax-Mingo and North Tama over a three-day span to move to within two games of the state tournament.

“I’m disappointed with the way it ended, but I’m so proud that we made it this far,” Read said. “South Hamilton hasn’t made it this far (in regionals) since I graduated high school (in 2006), so that’s a big accomplishment.”

Jesup advanced to tonight’s regional final against Alburnett at Waterloo West High School. The winner will earn one of the eight spots in the state-tournament field.