By Daniel Brunty The Winston County Journal
It is always hard to repeat success, especially when it comes to championships in sports. Sometimes it just takes hard work and dedication to reach that plateau. For the Nanih Waiya Diamond Warriors, success comes from all of the above. The Warriors, who are on a quest to repeat as Class 1A state champions, met their first playoff challenge when they faced the Ethel Tigers in a best of three game series this past week. The first game of the series took place at Nanih Waiya on Apr. 26. Starting on the mound for the Warriors was Colby Eaves. Eaves pitched solid during the first two innings, throwing multiple strikeouts. The play that turned the game, however, came at the top of the third inning when Eaves was rocked by an Ethel batter for a grand slam home run, maki8ng the score 4-0. The Warriors would not be disheartened, and would go on to score two runs in the bottom of the third with RBI’s from Hunter Luke and Hunter Swart. The score was 4-2 going into the fourth inning. The Warriors would show the heart of a champion, however, as they scored four unanswered runs in the 4th and 5th innings to take the lead and the victory over Stringer 6-4. Nanih Waiya led the series 1-0. Getting hits for the Warriors were Tanner Dalton (1), Hunter Luke (2 RBI’s), Zach Hanna (1), Stewart Ball (1), Hunter Swart (3 RBI’s), Brandon Rigdon (1), and Luke Rosamond (2). Nanih Waiya would then travel to Ethel for the second game of their series. The game would start out with both teams on the offensive with the scored tied at one after the first inning. The second inning would see the Tigers take the lead as they scored two unanswered runs to make the score 3-1 going into the third inning. Neither team would score again until the fifth inning, in which the Warriors tied the score again at 4-4 going into the sixth inning. The Warriors, looking to end the series, scored five runs in the last two innings for a decisive 9-4 victory to win the game and the series. Nanih Waiya had a number of players with RBI’s, which contributed to the win. The players with those were Hunter Luke (1), Zach Hanna (2), Stewart Ball (1), Colby Eaves (1), and Ty Higginbotham (2). Up next for the Warriors will be a third round playoff series against the Stringer Red Devils this week. The first game of the series will take place at Nanih Waiya on May 4 at 6 p.m. The second game will take place at Stringer on Mazy 5 at 7 p.m. If a third game is necessary, it will take place at Nanih Waiya on May 7 at 6 p.m. The Nanih Waiya Lady Warriors were looking for revenge from last season’s playoff loss against the two-time Class 1A state champion Bogue Chitto this past week. The first game of their playoff series was at Bogue Chitto on Apr. 27. On the mound for the Lady Warriors was sophomore Ryan Holdiness. Holdiness pitched a good game, only giving up three hits and one run, as well as throwing five strikeouts. The first two innings were scoreless for both teams. The Lady Warriors would strike in the third inning, however, scoring three runs to take a 3-0 lead going into the fourth inning. The Lady Bobcats would get on the scoreboard in the fourth inning when they scored their only run of the game. Neither team would score in the fifth and sixth inning. Seeing victory in sight, the Lady Warriors added two more runs in the seventh inning to give them a 5-1 win and a 1-0 lead in the overall series. Leading the way for the Lady Warriors in hits was Megan Robinson (2 hits, 4 RBI’s). Also getting hits were Bridget Hunt, Kara Nowell, Ryan Holdiness, Reagan Holdiness, and Brooke Richardson. The Lady Warriors then traveled back home to host the Lady Bobcats on Apr. 28. Holdiness was on the mound again for the Lady Warriors. Holdiness would go on to give up six hits and five runs, including five strikeouts for the night. Like their first game, neither team would score in the first two innings. The third inning would see the Lady Bobcats get on the scoreboard with the first run of the night. The Lady Warriors would follow suit, but would score two runs in the bottom of the third to take a 2-1 lead going into the fourth. Nanih Waiya would get the bats swinging in the fourth inning, as Ryan Holdiness hit a home run with two runners on base to take a 5-1 lead. Neither team would score in the fifth inning. The sixth inning would be all Lady Bobcats as they ran off four runs to tie the game 5-5 going into the final inning of play. The top of the seventh inning would see the Lady Warriors hold down the Lady Bobcats from scoring, giving them an opportunity to get the win and the series in the bottom. In the bottom, the Lady Warriors would force a sacrifice bunt to score the game-winning run and clinch the series for Nanih Waiya. Up next for the Lady Warriors will be their second round playoff series against Stringer. The first game of the series will be at Nanih Waiya at 6 p.m. on May 4. The second game will take place in Stringer at 4 p.m. If a third game is necessary, it will take place that same day at 6 p.m.