Oxford softball garners win over Pearl
Being aggressive on offense really made a difference for the Oxford Lady Chargers in their MHSAA Class 5A playoff opener with Pearl. Oxford grabbed a 1-0 advantage in the best-of-three series thanks to a good night at the plate. The end result was a 9-4 win, and a chance to earn a sweep Saturday in Pearl.
OHS coach Steve Blackmon saw his team fall behind 3-1 to the Lady Pirates only to battle back behind LeLe Booker, who finished 3-for-4 at the plate. Her biggest hit came with Oxford nursing a 4-3 lead in the fifth when she hit a three-run home run.
“I was really proud of the way we swung the bat today. We started off in the first inning really aggressive. Our lead-off hitter hit the first pitch that she saw, the first pitch of the game, off the fence for a triple,” Blackmon said of Kaytlon Pegues. “Everybody came behind her and they were aggressive. We kind of hit a little lull the second time through (the lineup). Then when we were up 4-3 coming into the bottom of the fifth I said ‘Hey, let’s put this thing away.’ One run wasn’t enough and it could get tight and this was our chance to get some distance.”
Booker’s home run highlighted the five-run fifth. Overcoming the 3-1 deficit pleased Blackmon, especially since his team made errors to allow the runs to score.
“We kicked it around some and then gave them some extra outs in that one inning and that helped them score the three runs that gave them the lead. Those are the kinds of things that in the past we’ve admittedly hung our heads on sometimes,” Blackmon said. “But we fought back, we put it behind us and we played. I was really proud of that.”
The Lady Chargers have now won 10 games during the season, three more than all of last season. There’s been gradual progress made for the program since Blackmon took over, with more hopefully to come if he has anything to do about it.
“We’re working on it, we’re trying. It’s one step at a time. As a friend of mine says, baby steps. It’s been a gradual progression all the way through this season. We’re ending up with more wins this year which I will attribute to good play,” Blackmon said. “We would like to get win number 11 (Saturday) and then just see what happens against Neshoba Central next week. That’s who we would have next round.”
Neshoba Central is 24-2 overall and the No. 1 seed, which allowed a bye and the Lady Rockets’ head coach to come scout Friday night’s game. Neshoba Central is the defending 5A state champions.
Check back Saturday to see how Oxford fares down in Pearl.