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Wildcats win baseball opener at county tourney

By By Ryan Satcher/staff writer
Feb. 16 2002
The Meridian Wildcats jumped out to a six-run lead in the first four innings and held on to beat Northeast Lauderdale in the Coca-Cola Lauderdale County Tournament on Friday night.
In the first game of the day, Neshoba Central beat West Lauderdale 8-6.
The Wildcats used a four-run, second inning to jump out ahead of the Trojans of Northeast and got solid pitching from starter Jason Spinks to open the year with a win.
Maurice Cole reached base on an error to start the second inning. After a couple walks, Richmond Alexander knocked in the first run of the game with a sacrifice fly to right field. It looked like Northeast might get out of the inning only giving up one run after the next hitter struck out, but then John Stevens got hit by a pitch to load the bases.
A wild pitch brought in Lance Burnham from third to make the score 2-0. Then Torry Bates hit a shot right at the second baseman. The ball bounced loose and then was thrown into the dugout allowing Bobby Stone and Stevens to score to make the score 4-0 at that point.
Spinks struck out seven of the first nine batters he faced to start the game and kept the Trojans from scoring. The Wildcat bats added some more run support in the bottom of the fourth. With two outs in the inning, Bates singled. Then Andy Slayton slapped a ball down the line into left to score Bates from first. Next RIcky McMillian ripped a single into right to score Slayton and make the score 6-0.
Northeast finally got on the board in the top of the fifth. Dustin Hedgpeth led off the inning with a double down the left-field line. A groundout moved him over to third and after Jonathan White walked Frank Briggs singled to score Hedgpeth. A sacrifice moved the runners to second and third with two outs. Ryan Stewart walked to load the bases up and the Wildcats went to Quinton Warren in relief.
A pitch got by the catcher and went to the screen to score White and make the score 6-2, but Warren struck-out the batter to end the threat.
The Wildcats added another run in the sixth inning on a sacrifice fly by Cole and held on for the 7-2 victory.
In today's action, Northeast takes on Southeast Lauderdale at 10 a.m. Clarkdale then faces Southeast at 1 p.m. At 4 p.m., Clarkdale faces West Lauderdale. The final game will have Meridian taking on Neshoba Central at 7 p.m.
Neshoba Central 8
West Lauderdale 6
The Rockets of Neshoba Central opened their season with a win on Friday night in the opening game of the Lauderdale County Tournament by defeating the Knights of West Lauderdale 8-6.
Neshoba Central scored six runs in the third inning to build a lead. West Lauderdale tried to come back as it scored four runs in the fourth inning, but fell short to the Rockets.