By Adama Gore/Special to the Journal
NETTLETON – For nearly a decade, the Nettleton Lady Tigers and Mooreville Lady Troppers have dominated the scene of high school softball in Northeast Mississippi.
On Tuesday, the two powerhouse programs combined for 31 hits with 9 going for extra bases and two shots being too big for the friendly confines of James Malone Field to hold as Nettleton (19-0) clinched the Region 2-3A championship with a 13-8 victory over Mooreville.
“When you take two good teams playing well and put them on the same field together you’re going to get fireworks and that’s what you got in this game,” said Nettleton softball coach Dana Rhea. “There was a lot offense and we were fortunate enough to get the win because Mooreville is a really good team with a lot of talent from top to bottom of their lineup.”
The Lady Troopers jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the top of the first inning after Megan Edmonds and Betsy Kingsley bounced back-to-back doubles off the wall in center field, but the Lady Tigers answered in the bottom half of the inning when Anna Kent bounced a two-run single off the wall.
Mooreville kept the bats popping in the second with three runs on a pair of RBI singles by Edmonds and Katelyn Keith before Hallie Donald bounced the third double of the game off the center field wall to give the Lady Toppers a 7-2 lead.
Jabria Pounds gave Nettleton a spark when she pounded a three-run bomb over the right-center wall to pull the Lady Tigers within one, 7-6, in the bottom of the second.
Nettleton took the lead for good after a two-run single by Pounds, who later scored on an error, in the fourth before Kaleigh Tackett tacked a three-run home run over the left-center wall to highlight a four-run bottom of the sixth inning for the Lady Tigers.
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“We had a lot players step up tonight to make the plays and get the hits when we needed them and that’s something you like to see out of your team heading into the playoffs,” Rhea said of his team’s effort.
The victory clinched the Lady Tigers’ third region championship in four years and punched their ticket into the MHSAA Class 3A North playoffs.
Mooreville’s postseason destiny is in the hands of its unbeaten rivals.
Holding the head-to-head tiebreaker over Mantachie, the Lady Toppers need a Nettleton victory over the Lady Mustangs on Thursday in order to advance to postseason play, while a Nettleton loss would close the door on their playoff hopes.