Squads look for repeats, redemption
By By Marty Stamper / EMG sports assistant
Oct. 24, 2003
For Clarkdale and West Lauderdale, maintaining the status quo would be just fine. For Union, redemption is the key word.
Clarkdale (Class 2A) and West Lauderdale (Class 3A) look to repeat as state slow-pitch softball champions when Saturday's MHSAA best-of-three series begin at 11 a.m. at the V.A. Fields in Jackson.
Clarkdale (25-10) and Mooreville (31-7) meet again for the 2A title in a rematch of the 2002 finals.
West Lauderdale (33-6) looks to defend its 2002 crown against up-and-coming Corinth (25-14), which entered the playoffs as a No. 4 seed.
Union (25-10) looks to redeem itself from last year's three-game loss to Ingomar (32-7) when the two tangle again for the Class 1A title.
Clarkdale vs. Mooreville
In last year's finals, Mooreville won the series opener 15-5 before the Lady Bulldogs came back to win 17-14 and 17-3.
Clarkdale has won four (1995, 1996, 1997, 2002) state slow-pitch championships, while Mooreville has two (1998, 1999) of its own.
Mooreville swept Hamilton 11-6, 23-10 for the 2A North half crown. The Lady Troopers jacked six homers over the fence in the second game to erase an early 10-6 Hamilton lead.
Top players for Mooreville are Kelley Hankins, Rachel Tally, Lakyn Nelson, Sarah Smith, Jade Hankins, Bobbie Sue Howell, and Jess Hicks.
Getting the Lady Bulldogs back to the championship series are pitcher Whitney Drachenberg, first baseman Sabrina Woodall, second baseman Brandi Wright, shortstop Megan Potate, third baseman Lyndsey Dawkins, left fielder Bethany Spidle, left-center fielder Emily Howard, right-center fielder Savannah Satcher, right fielder Alyssa Bye, and catchers Ashley Bye and Casey Meador.
Potate is questionable after suffering a hamstring injury against Enterprise, Roberson said.
West Lauderdale vs. Corinth
These two have some things alike, while in other ways, they're light years apart.
Both needed three games in their last two series to reach the finals and both won the third game of their North/South State championship series in dramatic fashion.
But while West Lauderdale has six (1993, 1994, 1996, 1997, 2000, and 2002) state championships already, the Lady Warriors are treading on foreign soil.
Playing their biggest games in their program's 13-year history, Corinth knocked off 2002 state runner-up Kossuth in three games for the North State title. Corinth won the opener 3-1, lost the second game 14-6, and took the rubber game 17-10.
Corinth entered the playoffs as the No. 4 team from Division 1-3A.
Top players for Corinth are pitcher Kayla Manus, Catherine Simmons, Whitney Mayes, Haley Huggins, Amanda Hardwick, and Emily Ann Stockton.
In the 11 years of five classifications, the South State winner has won seven 3A state titles, with the Lady Knights and Newton County doing all the damage.
After losing their first South State game at Poplarville 20-18 in 10 innings, the Lady Knights rolled to a 13-1 win before taking a 15-14 battle in the third game.
Getting the Lady Knights back in the title series are pitcher Sommer Jones, first baseman Katie Moulds, second baseman Morgan Gullette, shortstop Holly Herrington, third baseman Brook Bounds, left fielder Kirby Rutledge, left-center fielder Ashley Helms, right-center fielder Kayla Eubanks, right fielder Kristi Lantz, and catcher Katie McAlister.
Union vs. Ingomar
Unlike West Lauderdale, Union will be fighting history in the 1A title series. Over the last 10 years, the only South State winner to take the state title was Mercy Cross in 2000. During that span, Myrtle (four times), Ingomar (twice), Hamilton (twice), and Tremont have carried state championships back to north Mississippi.
Ingomar's state crowns came in 1996 and 2002. Last year, the Lady Falcons beat Union 13-5 in the first game, dropped the second game 6-2, then took the championship 13-5 in the third game. Union batted just .283 in the series, going 28-for-99. Two of the 10 Lady Jacket starters went hitless.
Union swept West Lincoln 10-0, 6-3 in Tuesday's South State finals.
Ingomar needed nine innings to get past Houlka 12-10 in their North State series opener before cruising to a 17-7 five-inning win in the second game.
The Lady Falcons have five new starters from their 2002 team, including a couple of eighth graders.
Union lost two starters from last year's team.
Giving the Lady Jackets a second chance at all the marbles are pitcher Madison Brantley, first baseman Lauren White, second baseman Chasity Yates, shortstop Morgan Breland, third baseman Amechia Hickmon, left fielder Lindsay Walker, left-center fielder Loren Kennedy, right-center fielder Morgan Milling, right fielder Deann Cleveland, catcher Tiffany Thomas, and extra hitter Beth Crotwell.
Leading Ingomar are shortstop Jessica Seger, Heather Deaton, Kelly Williamson, Molly Gardner, Beth Short, Ashley Hale, Anna Moody, Jennifer Edwards, and eighth grade pitcher Brittni Gilliam.