Lady Tigers scratch their way to claim top north title

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 1, 2007

2007 Fastpitch Softball North State Champions South Panola Lady Tigers Members of the North State Champion South Panola Lady Tiger fastpitch softball team include (first row, l to r) Meredith Roberson, Leann Parrish, Kasey Kelsay, Casi Brooks, Haley Walton, Sabrina Townsend, Haley Hood; (second row, l to r) Racquel Burdette, Hillari Plummer, Bethany Moore, Haylei Plummer, Lindsey Thaggard, Kelsay Hancock, Kayla Roden, Latara Farrell; (third row, l to r) head coach Ashleigh Hicks, Victoria Al

By Myra Bean
“It just hasn’t sunk in yet,” said South Panola fastpitch pitcher Whitney Kiihnl, following the North State championship game Saturday afternoon.

Kiihnl pitched 16 innings to lead the Lady Tigers (31-4) to their first-ever North State Championship. The Lady Tigers earned the right to participate in the State Championship Tournament beginning Thursday night at 6 p.m. in Hattiesburgh against  the No. 1 ranked Oak Grove Lady Warriors (23-0-1).

South Panola, No. 5 ranked, hosted the first two games of the North State tournament that were necessary to secure the trip to the state championship.

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Oak Grove took care of Harrison Central Saturday in two games, 11-3, 8-3.

South Panola and Madison Central had two roadblock games – both required extra innings.
South Panola won the first game 1-0 in one extra inning. The Lady Tigers took care of Madison Central in the second game in two extra innings, 1-0.

In the extra innings, fastpitch softball allows each team a handicap – a player starts the inning on second base.

Game 1
In the first game, Lady Tiger right fielder Sabrina Townsend worked her way from second to third on a sacrifice bunt by first baseman Lindsey Thaggard. While left fielder Haley Hood was up to bat, Madison Central pitcher Lindsey Perry threw a ball that got by catcher Britnee Hobson. Townsend, with a slight lead off third, stole home without having to slide for the win.
Kiihnl fanned 18 batters in the first game, striking out the three  batters in the extra inning and keeping Lady Jaguar right fielder Payton Cotton on second.

Kiihnl walked two and allowed one hit.

The Lady Tigers had 12 strikeouts. In regulation play, Perry pitched a no-hitter against the Lady Tigers, walking two.