Lady Devils hang on to eliminate Troopers

BOONEVILLE – Booneville coach Tommy Fraiser believes Mooreville’s earned legendary status in slow-pitch softball.
Wednesday afternoon, he was beginning to wonder if his Lady Blue Devils were about to become part of the Lady Troopers’ championship lore.
Mooreville, a 12-2 loser to Booneville in Tuesday’s first game of the MHSAA Class 3A quarterfinals best-of-three series, rallied from a 4-0 deficit in the second game to take a 6-5 victory and to force a deciding third game.
However, Booneville recovered with a surprising 10-run sixth inning to eliminate four-time state champion Mooreville from the playoffs with a 14-4 win.
“That’s the biggest victory I’ve had in my nine years here,” said Fraiser, standing on the rain-soaked clay diamond at Booneville City Park. “Mooreville’s a legend in softball and baseball.
“They did a great job putting us on the ropes in that first game.”
Booneville (18-10) advanced to a state semifinals series against Nettleton, which is scheduled to be played at 4 p.m. today in Booneville.
The winner advances to Saturday’s championship series in Jackson.
Booneville and Mooreville entered the sixth inning of the third game tied at 4-4. Nicki Whitten, Shannon Bell and Courtney Deaton produced runs with doubles while Hannah Hastings, Jessica Pannell, Bre Agnew, Madeline Hickman and Tiara Walker plated runs.
“They hit the ball tonight and we made a few errors I didn’t think we would make,” Mooreville coach Perry Wilburn said of Booneville’s offensive explosion. “We had the big inning in the first game. They got hot in the second game.”
In the opener, Anna Christian ripped a two-run triple in the sixth during Mooreville’s rally. Lauren Lewis and Shelby Jackson added RBI singles in the four-run inning.
The Lady Troopers (17-9) scored the winning runs in the seventh on RBI singles by Lewis and Betsy Kingsley.
Fraiser had a positive message for his team between games.
“I told them we needed to stay focused on what was at hand,” he said. “I was thinking positive. I felt we could win the game.”
Booneville will need to keep a positive outlook today against a visiting Nettleton team that has lost just one game this season.
“I know they’re a smash-mouth hitting team,” Fraiser said. “We’ll have to play excellent defense to beat them.”

Brandon Speck/Monroe Journal