SP Lady Tigers to face Starkville in first round
By Brad Greer
Typically there are three parts of a softball season. The non-district, district and playoffs portion of the schedule.
For the South Panola Lady Tigers starting now one slip up and there’s no tomorrow.
South Panola starts its quest for a state softball championship today as they take on Starkville in the play-in round of the North 6A State playoffs.
The Region 2 runner-up Lady Tigers (12-9) travels to Starkville (9-8-1) today at 4:30 p.m. in game one of the best-of-three series. Game two will resume tomorrow at 1 p.m in Batesville. Game three, if necessary, will follow.
The winner of the series advances to take on Region 4 winner Clinton Tuesday.
South Panola comes into the post-season sporting a .350 team batting average. Haven Dulin leads the Tigers with a .547 batting average to go along with seven doubles and two triples.
Senior shortstop Chloe Morgan follows with a .513 clip and is leading the team with runs (32) and hits (39). Other top hitters include Bailey Russell (.455, 5-2B, 23 RBIs), K.J. Hentz (.355, 4-2B, 2-3B, 23 RBIs) and Aubrianna Craven (.333, 3-2B, 11 RBIs).
The Lady Tigers will look to Katitlyn Tidwell and Rebekah Cook in the pitching circle. Cook is 6-0 on the season with 62 strikeouts and 14 walks in 52.2 innings while sporting a 2.52 earned run average.
Tidwell meanwhile is 3-3 on the year with one save. The sophomore has started 12 games and has fanned 28 batters while issuing 11 walks in 63 innings of work.
Starkville enters the playoff on a four-game winning streak after a third-place finish in Region 3 behind Northwest Rankin and Madison Central.
The Yellowjackets are led by sophomore Anna Rae Taylor who is the team’s leading hitter at .432 and is their top pitcher with a 9-8 record.
Jaleejah Armstead is second on the squad with a .400 batting average. Chyna Hornburger follows at a .343 clip with 12 hits and nine RBIs.
Starkville as a team is batting .261 with three home runs and a .3.76 team earned run average.