Lady Nettleton Tigers break through with seven-run third inning

By Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal

NETTLETON – Nettleton coach Dana Rhea and Mooreville pitcher Teri Richey had different perspectives on the third inning of Tuesday’s Division 2-3A high school fastpitch softball game.
Rhea enjoyed every moment of it.
Richey did not.
Nettleton reached Mooreville’s right-hander for seven hits and scored seven runs on its way to a convincing 9-2 win.
“I’ll take an inning like that every game,” said Rhea, whose team entered the season as three-time defending state champions. “It was just a team effort. In that one inning we came together.”
Richey, who four-hit the Lady Tigers on Nettleton’s home diamond last season, gave up nine hits in three innings before giving way to reliever Hallie Donald.
“They just started hitting off me,” said Richey, who underwent shoulder surgery last summer to repair a labrum tear. “I thought I was doing well placing the ball. They figured me out.”
Nettleton (10-2) is now 1-1 in division play after losing at home last week to league foe Mantachie.
Mooreville (12-6) suffered its first division loss and is now 2-1.
Kaleigh Tackett and Mari Anna Young had RBI singles for Nettleton in the third while Taylor Smith plated a run with a triple and Chelsea Tucker brought a runner home with a sacrifice fly. The Lady Tigers also scored runs on two errors and a wild pitch in the inning.
Makenzie Hawkins, who leads Nettleton in hitting this season, went 3 for 4 with a first-inning RBI. Anna Kent and Smith had two hits apiece. Kent had an RBI double in the fourth inning.
“It’s been a team effort all season,” Rhea said. “Nobody had an outstanding night.”
Nettleton did get a solid performance in the circle from Young, a sophomore right-hander. She gave up six hits, including a seventh-inning double to Mooreville’s Katelyn Keith, struck out two and walked one.
“She’s been consistent for us all year long,” Rhea said. “She’s kept us right there, along with our defense.”
Mooreville coach Perry Wilburn struggled to find the right words.
“Nettleton played well,” he said. “We never were in it.”
gene.phelps@journalinc.com