SPFP ends season

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 18, 2012

Lady Tigers end season at North Half

By Angie Ledbetter

The South Panola Lady Tiger’s fastpitch team saw their dream season come to an end after two-time defending state champions Madison Central Lady Jaguars (27-3) shut them out 3-0 on Monday for the north half championship.

The Lady Tigers (22-10) were limited to a one-hitter afternoon while committing four errors.
Madison Central had five hits and an errorless game.

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Junior outfielder Marla Rudd had South Panola’s only hit of the game, a single to center.

She stole second while junior catcher Amanda Ivy was at bat. Ivy drew a walk but both were left stranded.
The Lady Jaguars scored their first run in the bottom of the first when Katie Anne Bailey scored on a  Kelly Young double to right.

In bottom of the fourth Madison Central added another run when first baseman Crystal Kehlel singled and scored on a Katelyn Murray sacrifice fly to left.

Catcher Bailey Stokes later scored on a fielder’s choice in bottom of the fifth.

Lady Tiger head coach Ashleigh Hicks said the team went a long way.

“I’m extremely proud for the team making it this far,” she said. “It’s been 2008 since we made it there. Every round you get pumped up and of course you had that little bit of disappointment because you were two games away from going to a state championship but you also have to look back and see how many teams didn’t even make it there.”

The team accomplished a lot on their goal list this year, according to the fifth year coach.

“We won the district championship and north state runner up. Madison Central is a very good team which we’re a very good team also.”

On the mound for South Panola was freshman Nicole Fullilove, while Madison Central had senior Kelly Young.

“Kelly Young, who is a division one pitcher is going to play for the University of Arkansas, is an excellent pitcher. She’s a senior with experience and been to state championships before.

“I thought Nicole Fullilove did a great job pitching against a great hitting team,” Hicks added. “Defensively our team made some great plays. Madison Central has run-ruled people all year long.”

Fullilove ended the season as the No. 2 pitcher in the state on strikeouts with 228 and Young finished as No. 1.

“I think the team could’ve done more offensively with Young than what they did,” Hicks said. “I thought the second game was much better as far as putting the ball in play and getting on base than the first game.”

In two games, Madison Central held South Panola scoreless. South Panola lost the first game last Thursday, 2-0.

Hicks told the team after the game she didn’t want them to be sad.

“I wanted them to leave that field with their heads held up high. Yes we were all sad because we didn’t make the state championship and it was the seniors’ last game. I told them no one works as hard as they do and I don’t want them to feel bad or like they let someone down. I also told them there was no other place in this world I’d rather be than right here with them and getting on the bus.”
South Panola will have to replace five senior starters who graduated.

“These seniors mean a lot to the program and I’m not talking just on the field but their leadership,” Hicks said. “They’ve given their hearts for a long time. They were a part of the 2008 championship as a junior varsity team so this is the last group to be a part of a state championship. I wanted to get back so bad for them because they’ve worked so hard through the years. We’ll always remember those five and they’ll always be a Lady Tiger.

“It’s going to take some time for some people to step in and fill some big shoes but we have the talent to step in. The junior varsity team is one of the best we’ve had,” Hicks added.