By David Wheeler/NEMS Daily Journal
SPRINGVILLE – It was perhaps not the smoothest two games head coach Adam Patterson has seen, but he will take the wins for his South Pontotoc Lady Cougars.
In an opening round pairing of the Class 3A Slow-Pitch State Tournament on Tuesday, the Lady Cougars got past the Booneville Lady Blue Devils 11-6 and 15-5.
“We hit the ball well, but that was not the best defense we could play,” Patterson said. “We were a little nervous the first game, but we kept hitting.”
South Pontotoc (22-6) moves into the second round, with a matchup Saturday against Nettleton (22-0), which played for a state championship last season and won the title in 2009.
“Over the last 10 years, Nettleton and Mooreville have been the best teams around here,” said Patterson, whose Lady Cougars lost to Nettleton in the semifinals last season. “We’ll play as hard as we can Saturday.”
In the clinching contest of the best-of-three series, South Pontotoc jumped to a 6-0 lead after two innings. Five of those runs came in the second, with Emily Henson connecting on a run-scoring double.
Then in the top of the fourth inning, Elizabeth Henson had an RBI-double as part of a four-run frame. Balls put in play by Breanna Kitchens and C.C. Costilow plated the other three runs for a 10-0 lead at that point
Later, Emily Henson took a ball over the left field fence for a two-run homer. Also at the plate for the Lady Cougars in Game 2, Elizabeth Henson had four hits, including three doubles.
Booneville made its biggest dent in the lead in the bottom of the fifth with three runs, including RBIs by Emily Horne and Cora Geno. That pulled Booneville within 10-4.
In Game 1, the score was 3-3 after the first inning, and 5-3 in favor of South Pontotoc after two frames. The Lady Cougars finally got some breathing room totaling six runs in the fourth, fifth, and sixth innings.
The Lady Cougars totaled 18 hits in the first game, 20 hits in the nightcap.