By Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal
MOOREVILLE – Katelyn Keith’s three-run homer in the first inning didn’t count, but it was certainly highlight-reel worthy.
Mooreville’s senior third baseman ripped a pitch on Tuesday night from Houston’s Talaja Echoles that landed on top of the pitching shed outside the left-field fence, but Keith missed first base in her excitement and was called out.
However, the two runs she plated with her blast counted in the Lady Troopers’ eventual 16-8 high school slow-pitch softball victory against the visiting Hilltoppers.
“I got the inside corner of the bag; I guess they didn’t see it,” Keith said, then smiled. “That’s all right. We won the game.”
Keith led a 20-hit Mooreville offensive attack that was added by four Houston errors. Keith, Miah Edmonds, Meagan Edwards and Teri Richey all had three hits apiece for the Troopers.
“We hit the ball really well tonight,” Mooreville coach Perry Wilburn said. “We hit the ball well Saturday. We hadn’t been hitting well before that.”
Mooreville (5-1) scored runs in every inning but the fifth.
Houston (5-2), led by outfielder M.K. Sullivan’s four-hit performance – which included a double – left the bases loaded in the third and fifth innings despite collecting 18 hits.
“We left those runners on base and we made some uncharacteristic errors,” Hilltoppers coach Keith Jernigan said. “Mooreville’s a solid team and hit the ball really well.
“We’re still learning a lot a some positions. We’re going to start playing our style of defense and not make those errors.”
Houston won the Class 4A state championship in fast-pitch softball last spring. Jernigan hopes to see his slow-pitch team feed off the fast-pitch team’s success.
“I want to see us get back to the high level we played on in fast-pitch,” he said. “We are starting to hit the ball a lot better.”
Houston cut Mooreville’s lead to 9-8 with a four-run fourth inning, but the Troopers rallied with a five-run bottom half. The key hit was Hallie Donald’s two-run double.
Also on Tuesday
Nettleton 2, Corinth 1: A 1-1 tie between the defending 3A state champions Nettleton and last year’s 4A North champs Corinth ended in extra innings on a walkoff solo home run by Nettleton’s Kaleigh Tackett in the bottom of the ninth.
Both teams got on the board in the first. Corinth’s Stennett Smith scored on an RBI single by Bailee Kramer, and Nettleton’s Lauren Baldwyn put the Lady Tigers on the board, scoring on a Corinth error.
The teams combined to strand 15 baserunners from the second inning on. Nettleton catcher Kimberly Monteith tagged out two Corinth runners at the plate, and the Lady Warriors defense turned a double play ahead of Tackett’s walkoff shot.
Anna Kent (7-0) took the win for Nettleton, also going 2 for 3 while teammate Lauren Baldwyn was 3 for 4. Corinth’s Stennett Smith reached base all four times with a double and three walks while Anna Kayte Webb was 3 for 4, all singles.