Top teams meet in tournament
By By Marty Stamper/EMG sports assistant
October 11, 2003
Action is slated to begin in the MHSAA slow-pitch softball playoffs today, weather permitting.
Two of the state's top three teams are scheduled to host best-of-three series in the area.
Second-ranked Neshoba Central (26-3), the Division 4-4A runner-up, will host Saltillo, the No. 3 team from Division 1-4A, at 2 p.m. The Lady Rockets knocked off top-ranked New Hope 4-3 earlier this week, but lost the division championship to the Lady Trojans on run differential in head-to-head games. New Hope had beaten Neshoba 10-4 earlier in the year.
Third-ranked West Lauderdale (25-4) hosts a familiar opponent in Greene County at 5 p.m. The Division 5-3A champion Lady Knights whipped Greene County 13-2 on Sept. 27 in the Rush/MCC Invitational Tournament at the Sammie Davidson Complex. The Lady Knights are the defending Class 3A state champion.
Also in Class 3A, Division 5-3A runner-up Newton County (23-6) hosts West Marion at 4 p.m., while Southeast Lauderdale, the No. 3 team in 5-3A, goes to Purvis.
Four other area teams find themselves in the Class 4A playoffs. Division 5-4A champion Quitman hosts d'Iberville, the No. 4 team from Division 8-4A.
Northeast Lauderdale, the No. 3 team in Division 4-4A, travels to Amory, the No. 2 team in Division 1-4A. Northeast finished second in the state in Class 4A in 2001 and 2002, while Amory was the Class 3A state runner-up to Newton County in 2001.
Louisville, which placed fourth in Division 4-4A, goes to fourth-ranked Tishomingo County, the Division 1-4A champion.
Wayne County, the runner-up in Division 5-4A, hosts George County (13-13), the No. 3 team in Division 8-4A.
Clarkdale's defending Class 2A state champion Lady Bulldogs (18-7) open their 2003 playoffs at home against Lumberton at 2 p.m. Clarkdale is the Division 5-2A champion, while Lumberton placed fourth in Division 8-2A.
Other Class 2A matchups have Division 5-2A runner-up Philadelphia hosting Perry Central, Division 5-2A third-place finisher Enterprise going to Gulfport to take on St. John, and Division 5-2A fourth-place finisher Lake traveling to Biloxi to take on Mercy Cross.
In Class 1A, 2002 state runner-up Union (17-9) hosts Natchez Cathedral at 3 p.m.
Division 4-1A runner-up Nanih Waiya hosts Wheeler, the No. 3 team from Division 2-1A, while Noxapater, the No. 3 team from 4-1A, goes to 2-1A runner-up Falkner.