Northeast softball continues to beat nation’s elite

Northeast Mississippi Community College softball program continues to knock off giants.
After knocking off 2010 National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Div. II national champion Muskegon (Mich.) Community College in the Lady Tigers season-opening tournament at Northwest-Shoals (Ala.) Community College, Northeast has continued to take down the elite.
Northeast handed Div. I opponent and host Meridian an 8-5 setback on the second day of the Rush Invitational in Meridian over the weekend and beat the 2009 NJCAA Div. II national champion Heartland Community College 4-0 in the rubber game of the tournament.
With those two wins and a victory against Luleen B. Wallace (Ala.) on the opening day of the two-day tournament, Northeast evened its record to 5-5 on the young season heading into its annual TigerFest Tournament held at Booneville CityPark on Friday, February 25 and Saturday, February 26.
Northeast (5-5) got the ball rolling in the Rush Invitational by beating Lurleen B. Wallace (Ala.) 4-1 to open the tournament.
Northeast added a pair of runs in the second and insurance scores in the third and seventh before walking away with its third win of the year as freshman pitcher Jaisa Fox held Lurleen B. Wallace to just four hits in the seven inning contest.
Northeast pounded out eight hits against Lurleen B. Wallace with six base knocks coming off the bats of sophomore Paige Smith and freshman Haley Knepp — who had three hits apiece for the Lady Tigers in the win.
The Lady Tigers found their stay in the Rush Invitational unkind as Shelton State (Ala.) handed Northeast its fourth setback of the season when the Lady Bucs scorednine runs over their last four at bats and ended the day early for the LadyTigers in a 9-1 five-inning decision.
Nrotheast rebounded from the 1-1 showing on the first day of the Rush Invitational and finished the tournament 3-2 with a 2-1 showing on the final day that included victories over host Meridian and Heartland in the tournament finale.
Meridian gave Northeast a run in the opener on the second day as both teams combined for 13 runs and 34 hits and 10 errors as both teams shook off the first day’s rust.
Northeast picked up five runs over the second and third innings but added three more in the fourth and fifth frames in claiming the 8-5 decision.
In the win, Northeast pounded out 18 hits against the Lady Eagle pitching staff with five Lady Tigers recording multiple hits – three Northeast players finished with three hits in the contest.
Nicki Whitten, Brittany Minton and Knepp all had three hits apiece for the Lady Tigers while Kelsie Follin and Smith added a pair of base knocks in the victory.
Northeast kept the hit barrage going against Meridian as the Lady Tigers also were able to stretch four of their 18 hits into multiple bases with Molly Lambert, Whitten, Minton and Knepp all recording doubles against Meridian in the win.
Northeast’s wins over Meridian and Heartland sandwiched a 5-2 loss to Central Alabama where Fox continued to toe the mound for the Lady Tigers and kept Northeast in the game but the Lady Tigers could not get the timely hit to knot the contest at 4-all in the latter stages of the contest.
Fox found her groove in the tournament’s final affair for the Lady Tigers as the Northeast freshman limited the 2009 national champion to just three hits over seven innings and recorded her fourth win of the year.
Northeast struck first with a run in the opening frame and then added a trio of insurance runs in the fourth and fifth – including a two-run fifth that saw an RBI double by Taylor Moore and an RBI single by Knepp that kept the Lady Hawks at bay.
Northeast opens up its 2011 home slate when the Lady Tigers host their annual TigerFest Tournament on Friday, February 25 and Saturday, February 26 at Booneville City Park.