from staff reports
The Meridian Star
Time nearly ran out on Newton County in its first game Friday in the Clarkdale Spring Fling Fast-Pitch Softball Tournament. Luckily for the Lady Cougars, they made the most of one final chance.
After a two-run homer put Lake Cormorant ahead, Newton County scored four times in its next at-bat and held on for a 7-6 victory.
The Lady Cougars dropped their second contest of the day, 3-0 to South Panola, and will return to Northeast Park for two more games today.
“We made the most of our chance in that first one, but we didn't do some little things very well in the second one,” Newton County coach Justin Chaney said. “We didn't have our best at-bats, but give credit to them: They hit their spots well and they made plays.”
In their first game, the Lady Cougars scored once each in the first and second frames and were still up 3-2 in the waning minutes of the 75-minute time limit. A two-run homer with 2 minutes remaining gave Lake Cormorant a 4-3 lead, but Newton County got out of the inning in time for a new frame to start – and scored four times in its next at-bat to get back on top.
Darby Bishop got the win in the circle and was also 2-for-3 with two doubles and a run scored, while Lindsey Savell was 2-for-2 with a run to lead Newton County. Ashton Lampton doubled, Shea Alexander singled and scored twice and Cassidy Blount, Abby Reeves and Shelby Barrett all had one hit, one run and one RBI.
In the 3-0 loss to South Panola, Newton County fell behind 1-0 in the first inning and never scratched a run. Lampton, Reeves and Latesia Davis had one hit each and Lampton took the loss after fanning four and allowing just one earned run.
Newton County is now 8-2 on the season.
West Lauderdale 7
The Lady Knights scored five times in the top of the third inning to break a 1-1 tie and held on for the win over the Lady Jackets.
West Lauderdale got three hits from Sarah Lolley, a homer from Abbe Bates and a triple and two runs from Mallory Turner.
Morgan Mayatt also had two hits and a run scored for the Lady Knights, Mallory Vance singled and scored and Alexa Logan had a hit. Breanna Sharp was the winning pitcher as West improved to 4-2.
Ebony Buckley had a pair of hits for Union, while Brett Whitlock was the losing pitcher.
West Lauderdale 2
The final inning did in the Lady Knights in their second contest Friday, as the Lady Eagles scored three times to break a 2-2 tie.
Turner had a pair of hits and a run scored, while Joanna Stewart also had two hits for West Lauderdale. Vance singled and scored and Lolley, Bates and Mayatt all had base hits.
Stewart was the losing pitcher for West, which fell to 4-3 and also returns to action in the Spring Fling today.
The Clarkdale softball team lost its second-straight game in the El Norte Clarkdale Spring Fling at Northeast Park, falling to Magee 7-2 in five innings.
Heather Harwell collected one of two hits on the day for the Bulldogs, driving in a run in the first with an RBI single. However, Clarkdale was unable to generate much offense after that. Magee starting pitcher Taylor Jordan kept Bulldog batters on top of the ball all afternoon, forcing the Clarkdale girls to bounce into easy ground outs. Jordan went all five innings for the Trojans to earn the win.
The Bulldog's troubles at the plate would carry over to the field, as Clarkdale struggled to field the ball cleanly, extending innings and allowing Magee to generate rallies.
“We cant hit, and we can't play defense,” Clarkdale head coach Britt Bennett said. “We can't expect our pitcher to keep throwing shutouts.”
Clarkdale's fielding miscues would come back to haunt them later in the bottom of the fourth, as the Trojans used three Clarkdale errors to fuel a two-out rally, producing three runs and busting the game open at 6-2. The Bulldogs were not given any help either, as a Magee base runner was called safe at second on a close play which would have ended the inning.
“That was big,” Bennett said. “I told the gils we got a bad call there at second, and we let it affect the way we play. After that, we just fell apart. I mean, it changes the whole complexion of the game.”
Clarkdale moved to 3-8 on the season following the loss. The Bulldogs will face Eupora today at 10:30 a.m.
“We are just trying to battle through it right now,” Bennett said. “We got a lot of new kids at a lot of new places. We are just struggling to compete. Hopefully when we get to district, we can get some of these things figured out.”
Neshoba Central 3
Northwest Rankin 2
After beginning the season with 12-straight wins, the Neshoba Central softball team narrowly avoided losing its second-straight game, beating Northwest Rankin 3-2 during the Clarkdale Spring Fling at Northeast Park on Friday.
Down 2-1 in the bottom of the fifth, Neshoba Central's Hannah Williams tied the game with a single past short, scoring Madalyn McMahon from second base. The play drew complaints from the Northwest Rankin dugout, as Williams and the Northwest Rankin shortstop made contact with one another. However, after a brief discussion, umpires decided the play was out of reach and did not penalize Williams with interference.
The game remained tied heading into the bottom of the seventh and final inning, as Kaila Willis stepped to the plate for the Rockets. Willis reached with a single and stole second to ignite the Rockets rally. Later in the inning Neshoba Central would complete the comeback, as Willis scored from third base on a fielders choice, narrowly escaping the tag and sealing the win for the Rockets.
“We didn't feel like we played well today,” Neshoba Central head coach Trae Embry said. “We didn't hit the ball well. We just got lucky in the end to be able to put the ball in play and score a run.”
Kayla McKinion earned the win for the Rockets, going all seven innings.
Neshoba Central 4
After trailing Amory for six innings, Neshoba Central won its second game of the day, exploding for four runs in the bottom of the sixth to beat the Panthers 4-2 in the Clarkdale Spring Fling at Northeast Park.
Hailey Lunderman and Williams led the Rockets at the plate with two hits apiece, while Kalya Robertson chipped in with a hit and two RBI's in the win.
Jenna Pigg earned the win for Neshoba Central. The Rockets improve to 14-1 after the day and will travel to Philadelphia High School March, 18.
Nanih Waiya 4
Northeast Lauderdale 3
Northeast Lauderdale allowed four runs in the first inning and was not able to recover, as the Trojans fell 4-3 to Nanih Waiya in the Clarkdale Spring Fling at Northeast Park on Friday.