By Rocky Higginbotham / Special to The Star
Makayla Roberts made a game-saving, over-the-shoulder catch on the warning track to preserve a 7-6 victory for Clarkdale in its season-opener against Philadelphia here in the Sixth Annual Lady Cougar Classic at Newton County High School Saturday.
In other early games at the slow-pitch softball event, both West Lauderdale and host Newton County won a pair of contests while Union split two one-run games.
Clarkdale’s first official action of the 2013 season saw the Lady Bulldogs score four times in the top of the third inning to erase a 3-1 deficit.
They were up 7-5 going heading into Philadelphia’s final at-bat. The Lady Tornadoes had already pushed across one run and had two runners on base when Roberts saved Clarkdale’s win by running down a ball just shy of the outfield wall.
Winning pitcher Molly McLeod was 4-for-4 with a double and two runs to pace the Lady Dogs, while Heather Harwell had one hit and two RBIs.
Alyssa Davis singled and tripled and Autumn Davis singled twice for Philadelphia.
In Saturday’s other early games:
West Lauderdale 3
Northwest Rankin 0
The Lady Knights scored the only runs they needed in a fourth-inning rally and blanked the Lady Cougars to win their season-opener.
Mallory Vance, Mallory Wooldridge and Breanna Sharp all had consecutive hits to start the fourth, when West got all three of its runs.
Wooldridge and Morgan Mayatt had two hits apiece and Sharp had a double, an RBI and a run for West.
Rachel Sollie earned the pitching win, limiting Northwest Rankin to just two base hits.
West Lauderdale 6
West completed an unbeaten day by pulling away from Philadelphia late.
The Lady Knights scored twice in the fourth frame to break a 1-1 tie, then got three insurance runs in the sixth inning.
Alexa Hogan was 3-for-3 with two triples and three RBIs to pace West Lauderdale’s offensive attack, while Sharp had a single, double, two runs and an RBI. Wooldridge again had two hits and scored twice and Abbe Bates singled and drove in two runs.
Sollie (2-0) was the winning pitcher.
Jada White collected a pair of hits and scored Philadelphia’s only run.
The Lady Yellowjackets scored all seven of their runs in the bottom of the second inning and made it stand up in a one-run win over Meridian in Saturday’s first game.
MHS scored was up 4-0 going into the bottom of the second, but the first six batters reached and scored for Union.
Cassie Smith and Parker Breland both had a pair of singles and Keri Ann Mayfield doubled for the Lady Jackets. Haley Morgan was the winning pitcher for Union, which fell 2-1 to Northwest Rankin in its second game.
Trayanna Carter, Amber Carter and Regina Warren all had two hits for Meridian.
Newton County 14
The homestanding Lady Cougars scored six times each in the first and second innings and won a rout-shortened contest in their season-opener.
Lindsey Savell was 3-for-3 with three RBIs and three runs and Shelby Barrett was 3-for-3 with two RBIs and two runs to pace Newton County, which had 13 hits and took advantage of six Meridian errors.
Latesia Davis was 2-for-3 with two runs; RoNeisha Brown was 2-for-3 with a triple, three runs and two RBIs; Hannah May had an RBI triple; and Meagan Higginbotham was the winning pitcher for Newton County.
Carlissa Hopkins had two hits for Meridian, while Alliejah Echols doubled, scored and drove in a run.
Newton County 7
In their second game Saturday, the Lady Cougars scored six times in their final two at-bats to pull away from the Lady Panthers.
Davis was 3-for-3 with a double and Shea Alexander was 2-for-3 with a triple, two runs and two RBIs to pace Newton County. Barrett was 2-for-3 with a double and Brown, May, Triniere Walker and Higginbotham -- who again got the pitching win -- each had a hit.
Petal was retired in order in five of its seven at-bats and had just three base hits.