By Brad Greer
Ask anyone on the Madison Central softball team if they’re glad to see the last of Whitney Kiihnl and the South Panola Lady Tigers you probably would get the same response.
“I’m glad she’s a senior this year. She simply wore us out,” said Jaguar center fielder Ashley Norman.
In a near carbon copy of Thursday’s game one meeting between the two schools won by South Panola 2-0, Kiihnl was simply dominating in the circle as the senior right-hander struck out 15 while firing her 12th no-hitter of the season to lead the Lady Tigers to a 1-0 victory in game two of the best-of-three series in the second round of the North 5A playoffs.
South Panola, (26-3) will now advance to the state semi-finals Thursday at 6 p.m in Southaven. Game 2 and, if necessary, a game 3 will be Saturday at 1 p.m in Batesville. The Lady Chargers punched their ticket to the North 5A championship by defeating Clinton 5-4 Saturday. The winner of that best-of-three series will face the BrandonHarrison Central winner next week for the state championship. Brandon edged George County 1-0 while Harrison County swept Terry 10-6 and 6-5.
The Lady Tigers scored their lone run in the bottom of the third Haylei Plummer reached on a two-out single then proceeded to steal second base and was driven home on a RBI single by Casi Brooks. From then on it was lights out for Madison Central.
Kiihnl (23-1) struck out the first 10 batters she faced while allowing only two Jaguars to reach base as Monica Wilkins got on by an error and Norman was hit by a pitch.
“My rise ball was really working today and I worked my change up in and kept them off balance,” said Kiihnl.
South Panola recorded four hits in the game and squandered opportunities to put more runs on the board. Kiihnl led off the bottom of the first with a single while Brooks drawing a two-out walk,but Stormi Robison popped up to end the inning. The Lady Tigers put runners on first and second with one out in the bottom of the sixth but could not get a run across. Kasey Kelsay recorded the fourth hit for South Panola with a single.
The win was somewhat bittersweet for Lady Tiger head coach Ashleigh Hicks who coached the Lady Jags two years ago. “Those kids over there were mine once apon a time so yes it was tough playing against them.”
Madison Central ended its season at 18-8.