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Neshoba falls in Game 1

By By Marty Stamper/EMG sports assistant
May 2, 2004
PHILADELPHIA Most expected runs to be at a premium in the Class 4A state fast-pitch softball championship series between Neshoba Central and three-time defending state champion East Central.
Saturday's series opener lived up to that billing as East Central scored twice in the fourth inning to take a 2-1 win.
Neshoba Central fell to 26-9, while East Central upped its record to 25-11. The series resumes Monday at 3 p.m. at Hurley with a third game, if needed, to follow.
East Central, which is playing in its fifth-straight state championship series, was at no loss for confidence following Saturday's contest.
The Lady Hornets used a solid pitching performance from Lindsay Long (15-6) to keep the Lady Rockets off the basepaths most of the day.
Long retired the first nine batters she faced. She struck out six, got another to pop out to first base and fielded a comebacker for yet another out. Only Sarah Williamson's fly ball to right field left the infield.
Long finished with a four-hitter and struck out eight.
East Central got their two runs in the top of the fourth. Lauren Harger reached on a fielder's choice and eventually scored. Meghan Chisolm singled and crossed the plate for the Lady Hornets' second run.
Sondria Hillie led off the bottom of the fourth with a single to break up Long's perfect game bid. Long retired the next three batters to get out of the inning. The Lady Rockets went down in order in the fifth frame.
Neshoba Central got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the sixth. Leah Dennis led off with a single. After a wild pitch, Jessi Nowell singled up the middle to cut East Central's lead to 2-1. Nowell took second base on the throw to the plate, but she was unable to advance as Williamson popped out to end the inning.
Allison McDaniel led off the bottom of the seventh with an infield hit. East Central left fielder Jessica Gary turned in the defensive gem of the day when she snagged a foul ball from Samantha Giambrone just before crashing into the fence for the first out of the inning. Kady Chandler erased McDaniel on a fielder's choice, and Lindsey Smith popped out on the infield to end the game.
Chandler (13-6) was the hard-luck loser. She retired nine of the first 10 batters she faced to start the game and also nine of the last 10 batters she faced, including eight in a row.
Only some defensive lapses in the fourth inning kept her out of the win column.
All eight hits in the game were singles with no player having more than one hit. Both teams had four hits.
Saturday's game time was moved up two hours, based on expected bad weather.