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Five area softball teams still alive

By By Marty Stamper / EMG sports assistant
April 15, 2004
Five of the seven area fast-pitch softball teams that qualified for the MHSAA state playoffs have advanced to the second round, which begins today.
Still alive are Clarkdale, Neshoba Central, Northeast Lauderdale, Philadelphia, and West Lauderdale.
Choctaw Central and Newton County were both eliminated in the first round.
Clarkdale, the 2003 Class 1A/2A state runner-up, opened the 2004 playoffs with a 6-1, 5-4 series sweep at Bogue Chitto on Saturday. Emily Howard (15-3) was the winning pitcher in both games.
Now 20-4, Clarkdale opens second-round play today at 6:30 p.m. at Richton (14-8). Richton won the decisive game of its first-round series with Ackerman with a 3-0 shutout on Tuesday. Cloe Malone (13-7) tossed a four-hitter to get the win.
Saturday's action at Clarkdale is slated to get underway at 2 p.m.
Clarkdale will be without senior second baseman Brandi Wright, who suffered an adverse reaction to medication after being hit in the face with a thrown ball last week.
Clarkdale head coach Rick Roberson has seen Richton twice, including Tuesday's game at Ackerman.
Richton played in the recent Meridian Fast-Pitch Festival, losing 6-5 to Meridian, 4-0 to Southeast Lauderdale, and 13-0 to Neshoba Central.
Northeast Lauderdale (17-13) swept Pass Christian 2-0, 2-1 on the Gulf Coast in first-round play, with Jana Olczak getting the win in both games.
The Lady Trojans open second-round action today at 4 p.m. at Northeast Park with a doubleheader against three-time defending Class 4A state champion East Central High School. East Central swept South Jones 10-0, 4-1 in the opening round.
Thursday's action was originally slated to be one game at East Central, but was changed to Northeast Park due to a baseball game previously scheduled for East Central, where the baseball and softball fields are in close proximity. A third game, if needed, would be at East Central on Saturday.
West Lauderdale also hopes to continue its road success when the 13-9 Lady Knights go to Summit to take on North Pike (11-10) in second-round action today at 5:30 p.m. The series returns to Collinsville on Saturday at 5:30 p.m.
West swept Greene County 6-4, 14-7 in opening-round play last week. North Pike advanced with an 11-3, 11-6 sweep of Collins.
Neshoba Central bounced back from a 1-0 loss in its series opener with New Albany to win the next two games by 4-0 and 18-1 margins. Next up for the Lady Rockets is a home game with Saltillo today. Saltillo advanced with a 6-3 win over Terry on Wednesday after the two split Saturday's doubleheader.
Philadelphia had no problem in its first-round series with Resurrection Catholic, beating the Pascagoula team 13-3 and 7-0. In the second game, freshman Erin Breland carried a perfect game into the seventh inning as the Lady Tornadoes improved to 18-4. Seventh-grader Shelby Smith (11-3) got the win in the opener.
Philadelphia travels to Mize (13-4) for second-round play today at 6 p.m. The Lady Bulldogs, winners of Region 6-1A/2A after Clarkdale, Mize, and Union finished in a three-way tie, swept Salem 6-3, 9-3 in the opening round.
Play resumes at 1 p.m. on Saturday at Philadelphia.
Newton County, the defending Class 3A state champion and the 2004 Region 5-3A champion, saw its season end with a 5-1 loss on the coast to Our Lady Academy on Tuesday. The two split a doubleheader Saturday at Decatur.
, with OLA taking the opener 5-4 and Newton County winning the second contest 9-3.
The Lady Cougars finished 18-13.
Choctaw Central was eliminated with 11-1, 13-0 losses to Region 1-3A champion Kossuth. The Lady Warriors ended their season at 5-9.

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