SP Lady Tiger softball

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The South Panola Lady Tigers traveled to take on the Hernando Lady Tigers in the regular season opener Saturday. Hernando center fielder is out at first on this throw to second baseman Tory Helton. South Panola lost 6-5 after Hernando overcame a three-run deficit in the seventh inning with two outs. The Panolian photo by Angie Ledbetter

Hernando slips through Lady Tigers’ hands

By Angie Ledbetter

A controversial dugout call in the top of the sixth inning could very well have contributed to the momentum change of the game for the South Panola Lady Tiger fastpitch team.

Hernando rallied from a 5-2 deficit in the bottom of the seventh to win 6-5.

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The South Panola Lady Tigers (1-2) battled to the end with the 2010 5A state runner up at Hernando but saw the game slip though their hands in the bottom of the seventh inning.

Hernando scored four runs to win the game.

Lady Tiger designated player Diamond Browning hit a foul which popped behind the plate but the catcher did not catch the ball. Browning made it to first but was called out due to a call of verbal interference from the South Panola dugout.

“He said one of our kids called the ball which meant their catcher stopped and that’s why they were out,” Lady Tiger head coach Ashleigh Hicks said. “It must be new. I have never heard of it before.”

There were a lot of fans around the dugout hollering and calling things out so Hicks did not know how that could be blamed on one of the players.

In the top of the first inning, the Lady Tigers loaded the bases with Christa Brown, Tory Helton and Meri Morgan Fortune.

First baseman Lauren Calvert drew a walk, driving Brown home for the first run of the game.

The game was tied at one going into the top of the second.

With two outs in top of the third, the Lady Tigers rallied. Fortune singled to right before catcher Caroline Dickins doubled to center driving Fortune home. Lauren Calvert, who had singled, advanced to third.

Browning hit a double to center picking driving Calvert and Dickins across the plate for the 4-1 lead

In bottom of the frame Hernando scored on a double RBI to cut the lead 4-2. 

Helton started the last inning with a single before Fortune laid a sacrifice bunt down the third base line to advance Helton to second. Helton advanced to third on a Lauren Calvert groundout to first.

Dickins’ single scored Helton for the 5-2 lead.

With runners on second and third in the bottom of the seventh, Hernando’s third baseman Hitt was intentionally walked which loaded the bases.

Hicks said she is one the strongest hitters in the state and stands behind her decision to walk her.

A Hernando double by Olivia Ladner drove home the two winning runs.

The South Panola Lady Tigers had nine hits, two errors, left eight on base and had five earned runs. Fullilove had 55 pitches in four innings, striking out five. Helton had 52 pitches in three innings, striking out three. The Hernando Lady Tigers had five hits, two errors, left seven on base and had six earned runs.

“My head is high,” Hicks said. “This team has worked very hard and I don’t want them down. A loss is a loss. Nobody likes to lose but I think it’s going to help us. If we can take this loss and learn from it, then it will be a plus for us.”

Jr. Varsity

The junior varsity team shut out the Lady Tigers of Hernando 4-0 Saturday to start their season.

South Panola jumped to a 3-0 early start in the top of the first. Marla Rudd singled and Taylor Browning bunted to advance Rudd to third.

Katie Hayes hit a two-run double scoring Rudd and Browning. Hayes stole home while Haley Reed was at bat for the third run.

Starting on the mound was seventh grader Caroline Dickins. Sophomore Diamond Browning was the relief pitcher.

In top of the fifth, Crystal Contreras homered to center for 4-0 win.

Hicks said the junior varsity team played very well.

“I think that comes from them scrimmaging with varsity,” Hicks said. “We scrimmage with each other on a weekly basis. I think that prepared them for a real game.

“Caroline, a seventh grader, started on the mound and had complete control,” she continued. “We have a lot of young talent that is going to show out here from seventh grade up. The whole lineup has something.”