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Slow-pitch season gets under way today

By By Marty Stamper / EMG sports assistant
Aug. 9, 2002
Even though some schools have yet to begin their 2002-03 school year, the public school slow-pitch softball season is slated to begin today.
The public schools will find their schedules slashed back to a total of 29 games prior to the playoffs. One of those 29 must be a "classic" game or the limit is 28.
Academies were able to begin their fast-pitch softball season on Tuesday.
Today's lone action involving area teams has Union hosting West Lauderdale. The Lady Knights went 34-6 and advanced to the Class 3A South State Championship series in 2001, while Union finished 26-7 and reached the Class 1A South State Championship series. Game time is set for 7 p.m. at Laird Park.
Union travels to Choctaw Central Monday night.
Clarkdale, the 2001 Class 2A state runner-up, returns to action on Tuesday at Quitman in a 6 p.m. game. Clarkdale finished 24-12 last fall.
Meridian, 22-13 a year ago, launches its 2002 season Tuesday at Waynesboro against Wayne County in a 5 p.m. contest.
Philadelphia and Newton open their seasons on Monday in a 6 p.m. contest at the ESCO Fields at Newton. The Lady Tornadoes were 12-12 last year after moving up to Class 3A. Newton went 6-15.
Tuesday also finds 2001 Class 4A state runner-up Northeast Lauderdale beginning its bid for another trip to the state finals Tuesday at West Lauderdale in a 7 p.m. game. The Lady Trojans were 33-6 last fall.
Neshoba Central, 14-16 in 2001, debuts its 2002 team on Tuesday by hosting Carthage in a 6 p.m. game.
Enterprise, 12-11 last fall, also opens its season on Tuesday by hosting Stringer in a 7 p.m. matchup.
Bay Springs hosts Heidelberg in its season opener on Tuesday at 6 p.m.
Noxapater's Lady Tigers begin their season on Aug. 15 by hosting Philadelphia at 4:30 p.m.
Defending Class 3A state champion Newton County won't begin its season until Aug. 16 when the Lady Cougars host Enterprise at 6 p.m. and Union at 8 p.m. Newton County went 34-3 last year, losing only to Class 4A state champion New Hope, Class 5A state runner-up Northwest Rankin, and Class 3A state semifinalist West Lauderdale.
Southeast Lauderdale, 5-23 last fall, begins its 2002 season on Aug. 16 at Northeast Park against Northeast Lauderdale.
In fast-pitch action, Leake Academy is slated to travel to Starkville Academy Saturday for a 1 p.m. contest. The Lady Rebels were scheduled to host Starkville on Monday in the season opener and Kirk Academy on Thursday. Leake finished 15-12 a year ago.