Neshoba Central 17
Fresh off of a 5A slow-pitch state championship, it appeared as if nothing can slow down Neshoba Central early on in 2013. The Rockets continued their torrid start to the fast-pitch season Thursday, blowing out Clarkdale 17-5 in five innings during the El Norte Clarkdale Spring Fling at Northeast Park.
Clarkdale's Heather Harwell put the Bulldogs up 1-0 early with a RBI double in the top of the first, but the Rockets would quickly respond with two runs in the bottom half of the inning.
After holding the Bulldogs in the top of the second, the Rockets exploded in the bottom of the inning. Up 2-1 with the bases loaded and no outs, Madelyn McMahon laced a bases-clearing triple to right field and scored on an overthrown ball at third to bust the game open at 6-2. The Rockets would not let up from there, continuing to pour it on with two more runs in the second before scoring three runs in the third and four more in the fourth.
Hailey Lunderman led the Rockets at the plate, going 3/3 with a triple. McMahon, Hannah Williams and Kaila Willis all had multiple hits in the game as well.
After finishing the year as the No.1 slow-pitch team in the state, Neshoba Central head coach Trae Embry said he isn't sure whether or not his girls have a target on their backs. Either way, the extra attention has not hindered the Rockets, as Neshoba Central remained perfect on the season, improving to 12-0 after the win.
“We are just playing,” Embry said. “We are very young, and we play with five ninth-graders every day. I guess it's better to have a bullseye than be at the bottom looking up.”
Neshoba Central 7
The Rockets suffered their first loss of the season in their second game of the day against Poplarville, losing 8-7 to the Hornets at Northeast Park.
Neshoba Central got out to a promising 5-0 lead in the top of the first. However, Poplarville came storming back.
Tristan Wheat hit a home run in the first inning to cut the lead to 5-1, before smashing a grand slam later in the game to tie the score at five.
Wheat accounted for seven of the Hornets eight runs, as Poplarville starting pitcher Rachael Hickman held on for the win.
Ali Pike hit a three-run homer for the Rockets in the loss.
The loss drops Neshoba Central to 12-1 on the season. The Rockets will play Northwest Rankin at 2:00 p.m. and Amory at 3:00 p.m. today in the El Norte Clarkdale Spring Fling at Northeast Park.