SP Fastpitch

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 22, 2011

The South Panola Lady Tiger fastpitch softball team prepares for its fifth-straight playoff appearance. The Panolian photo by Angie Ledbetter

Lady Tigers told to share district championship

By Angie Ledbetter

Thursday was a day of turmoil for the South Panola Lady Tiger fastpitch softball team as they received word they were not the district champs but co-district champs with Tupelo.

Tupelo appealed to the MHSAA that they should be No. 1 in the district. Both teams claimed a district win against each other. South Panola defeated Tupelo 4-2 and Tuesday night Tupelo defeated South Panola 3-1.

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The next tie-breaker as understood by Lady Tiger head coach Ashleigh Hicks would go down to number of runs allowed in district games.

Since Tupelo and South Panola defeated each by two runs and neither allowed Columbus a run, the games against Starkville became a factor. South Panola shut out Starkville in both games but Tupelo allowed two runs. Overall, South Panola allowed five runs and Tupelo seven runs.

However, the MHSAA ruled the  games against No. 3 seeded Columbus was the tie breaker.

South Panola scored 13 total runs against Columbus and Tupelo scored 19 runs against them. Thus, Tupelo will go into the district tournament as the No. 1 team from Division 2 while South Panola will go in as the No. 2 team.

The district playoff schedule will be explained in Tuesday’s edition of The Panolian.

SP vs. Tupelo

Tuesday’s game was the ending that the South Panola Lady Tiger’s fastpitch team wanted for their last district game but they took it anyway. They fell short to Tupelo 3-1 for their only district loss.

“Of course we wanted to come out here and win this game and definitely not let them be two runs ahead of us at the end of the game,” Hicks said. “The girls worked hard but we started the game off shaky. Tupelo got a hit. Then we had an error and hit a batter. Then things happened when one of the best hitters we’ve faced, who is a senior, came up. She hits the ball well no matter what.”

The Lady Tigers logged two hits and left five on base. Nicole Fullilove was on the mound fanning 10.

“I don’t think we came out here like we should have,” Hicks said. “We were kind of flat. Nicole pitched a very good game tonight. She hit 60 a few times but we got to play defense. Defense has been something that has been an issue for us.”

Hicks knew when the team was down 3-0 that they needed one run.

“I knew we had to get one run in for it to be even an option for the district. Thank goodness we played good defense against the other teams and things went our way”

As far as the scenario, Hicks said that’s why it’s so important that you play all of your games. We’ve been playing ball very week and I hope this is a wake up. Practice was flat yesterday. I know toward end of the year everybody gets tired and you’re just going through the motions. Maybe this will give them a little kick in the butt.”

Tupelo scored its three runs in top of the third, one earned run and two unearned runs.

It was the sixth inning before the Lady Tigers score their only run of the game.

Caroline Dickins started the inning getting hit by a pitch and Marla Rudd came in as courtesy runner. Christa Brown singled, advancing Rudd to second. Amanda Ivy drew a walk loading the bases. Lindsey Calvert singled to left field driving Rudd home for the only run of the game.

The Lady Tigers will be on the road to Desoto Central tomorrow to close out the regular season. The playoffs will start next Friday.

The Lady Tiger junior varsity team defeated Tupelo 4-1. Scoring runs were Rudd, Taylor Browning, Madison Taylor and Bethany Cotton. Taylor had two RBIs (runs batted in) followed by Taylor Browning and Mary Beth Hays with one RBI each.