Troopers, Tigers ready for another round in 3A

By Blake Long
Special to the Journal
For the past several seasons, the fast-pitch softball teams at Mooreville and Nettleton have competed neck-and-neck for the Division 2-3A championship.
The rivalry looks to be just as intense this year as both teams – and all of Northeast Mississippi – prepare to open the 2013 campaign with games this week.
“With us being in the same division, it’s always a big game and I don’t see that changing this year,” said Nettleton coach Dana Rhea, whose Lady Tigers have won the Class 3A state championship two of the past three years.
Nettleton has won three of four against the Lady Troopers over the previous two seasons, but two of those victories came by only one run.
Junior MariAnna Young returns to pitch for the Lady Tigers. She recorded 23 wins with a 1.76 earned run average as a sophomore.
Big hitters Molly Bramlett (.467 batting average) and Anna Kent (.394) will anchor the Nettleton lineup.
Mooreville also boasts a solid pitching staff with eighth grader Hallie Donald and senior transfer Jesslyn Brown from Florida. But Lady Troopers coach Perry Wilburn has one simple wish for the season.
“I just hope we can stay healthy,” he said. “We’ve had some injuries over the past four to five years.”
The two 3A powers do not meet this season until April – in Mooreville on the 4th and at Nettleton on the 18th.