SP Lady Tiger softball

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 12, 2008

One inning does in Lady Tigers against Cleveland

By Angie Ledbetter

The South Panola Lady Tigers vs. Cleveland softball game came down to one big inning, the fourth.

The Lady Tigers had a 2-0 lead over Cleveland but a mistake here and there turned the game around quickly. Cleveland scored seven runs in the top of the fourth inning to stun the Lady Tigers with a 7-3 victory.

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To start the game, Lady Tiger’s defense stepped up and held Cleveland scoreless in the top of first. Racquel Burdette scored the first run after hitting a single and advancing to third before coming to home plate. Christa Brown singled and Sarah Cole followed with one in the bottom of third.

Kelsay Hancock singled and Brown attempted to score but was out at the plate.

Paige Jordan hit a single, driving in Cole for the second run for the Lady Tigers. With bases loaded, the third out was a popped out to stop the Lady Tiger drvie.

The game remained 2-0 until the top of the fourth. Cleveland’s first batter popped up to left center Jennifer Newcomb.

The next two batters singled and the third walked to load the bases.

Next at bat was a single RBI (run batted in) to put Cleveland on the boards.

During the next play, two runners ended up at third base but neither one was out.  On a mistake play, the ball was thrown to second base instead of home and the runner made it home safe to tie the game at two. The Lady Tigers’ momentum went down and they continued to make costly mistakes that gave Cleveland the edge the needed to score five more runs.

The only other run of the day was in the bottom of the sixth when Newcomb came home after hitting a single to start the inning. Cole and McDaniel singled to load the bases. Hancock’s walke drove home Newcomb to scpre.

Head Coach Kim Wilson told the team after the game that they could not allow seven runs in one inning but if they did, they had to come back and score too.

“We can’t have runners on base and making errors on the infield and do anything,” Wilson said. “The positive is they didn’t beat us in five innings like before. The negative is we should be sending them home losers. We did it to ourselves so we have to take care of it ourselves. Nobody is going to fix those problems for us.”

Wilson said the team lost all sight of fundamentals and the momentum went down.

“No excuses, but we have a bunch of young players that have never been in a pressure situation like that,” she said. “We practice it but when the other team is on the field, it’s a whole different story. Our immaturity, as far as our youth and the experience they’ve had in the past, showed up today.”

Cleveland defeated South Panola in a tournament earlier in the year 15-5 in five innings. Cleveland out hit the Lady Tigers in that game.

“They didn’t out hit us in this game,” she said. “Our defense played well but we had two major meltdowns in the same inning and that did it.”

Experienced and inexperienced players make up the Lady Tiger team and according to Wilson, they have not meshed yet.

“We haven’t gotten that bond yet that when you make a mistake, you turn right around because the next ball could be coming right to you and you could make everything wrong right with one ball,” she said. “My young players haven’t gotten the grasp of that idea yet.”

The Lady Tigers started district play hosting Grenada yesterday, but the score was not available at press time.

South Panola will be on the road to play Rosa Fort Monday and return home Tuesday to host Greenville-Weston in district action.

Games start at 4 p.m.