MACON — Marion Colvin didn”t back down.
After playing four games at the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools Class A State tournament, Colvin didn”t have time to be tired — or nervous.
The only thing Colvin thought about was beating Delta Academy.
“Mr. Pres (Dawkins) said, ”You have got the mound this game. Are you ready? I told him, ”Yes sir,” ” Colvin said. “I told him I was going to pitch my best and get us to state.”
Colvin did just that, striking out eight in a 4-0 shutout that helped Central Academy avenge a loss to Delta Academy earlier in the double-elimination tournament.
More importantly, the victory helped Central Academy secure a spot in the four-team Class A State tournament Saturday at Liberty Park in Flowood. The Lady Vikings will play Wayne Academy, the top seed from the South Half, at 10 a.m. Saturday. The winner of that game will play the winner of the Bayou Academy-Franklin Academy game at 11:45 a.m.
The Lady Vikings went on to lose to North Half State champion Bayou Academy after beating Delta Academy, but after a playing for more than 12 hours, the players and coaches were exhausted and satisfied to have accomplished their goal.
“We just knew after that first loss we could not lose another one,” Colvin said. “Our goal going into North State was making it to state, making it to state. That is all we thought about. We just had to put all of our heads together and played harder and put it all in it.”
Central Academy defeated Tri-County on Tuesday in their first game of the day. But the team”s bats went quiet in the next game, a 3-0 loss to Delta Academy that dropped the team into the losers” bracket.
Another loss would have sent the Lady Vikings home earlier than they wanted, so they refocused and defeated Marvell Academy and Greenville Christian to set up a rematch against Delta Academy.
Colvin wasn”t surprised she got the call in the pivotal game. The Lady Vikings used a pitching rotation that included Lillian Lindsey and Alex Dawkins and were in position to have a fresh pitcher in the circle.
The freshman also wasn”t surprised the Lady Vikings played as well as they did with the future of their season at stake.
“I was thinking, ”I have to pull through for the team,” ” Colvin said. “I had a lot of confidence. I pitched a lot of regular-season games, and you just have to do your best.”
Colvin said after her first two strikeouts she knew she “was on” and “had to bring it” and fight off the effects of a long morning that turned into night.
Teammate Blake Rigdon believed in Colvin and her teammates, too. She said the team wanted to win because it had to.
“We knew the coaches wanted us to win and we just did what they wanted us to do,” Rigdon said. “They asked us to go down there and play our hardest and we did.”
Dawkins, who is the team”s co-coach with Sammy Lindsey, said he could tell by looking in his players” eyes that they were going to respond after losing its first game to Delta Academy.
“I could see some fire because we explained to them that if we get to this one, the next one means we go to state,” Dawkins said. “They really caught fire, but after that they had used it all up.”
Dawkins said the victory against Delta Academy was the best game the team has played this season. He also considers it the best game he has seen played this season.
Lindsey said the players knew they had to respond to the pressure and raise their level of play.
“That was probably as high as I have seen them,” Lindsey said of the second game against Delta Academy. “The enthusiasm was just enormous. It was amazing. They were just bouncing around. It drained me, too, because it was so intense knowing that that was the last game that was going to help us get to state.
“If we get that same energy Saturday, things really could turn out like we want them to.”
n In related news, Lillian Lindsey and Corey and Alex Dawkins were recently honored for their play this season.
Lindsey was named the district”s MVP, while Corey was named the most valuable offensive player and Alex was named the most valuable defensive player.
Corey Dawkins leads the team with a .429 batting average for the season. She hit .474 in district and .500 at the North Half State tournament. She also has scored 26 runs and has 15 RBIs as the team”s leadoff hitter.
Adam Minichino is the former Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.