By Melissa Meador/Monroe Journal
NETTLETON – Nettleton’s bats came alive at the end of Friday’s win over Belmont, and they didn’t slow down on Saturday.
The Lady Tigers cranked out 17 hits in a five-inning 16-0 win for the series sweep over the Lady Cardinals in the second round of the Class 3A softball playoffs.
“We hit the ball well today,” Nettleton coach Dana Rhea said after winning the opener 11-5. “It started late in the game last night, and the kids just came in and carried it over today.”
Senior Makenzie Hawkins led the Lady Tigers with four hits, including two for extra bases, and four RBIs.
“I felt really good out there today,” Hawkins said. “We were just hitting really well, and that always makes you feel good as a team.”
Third baseman Kaleigh Tackett knocked in five runs, including a three-run home run in the bottom of the first to send home Hawkins and Lauren Baldwyn, and all nine Nettleton batters had at least one hit.
“Makenzie does a great job for us, and she’ll make a great player for someone next year at the next level,” Rhea said. “We just have a lot of great players. One through nine, they all hit the ball well.”
Nettleton scored five runs in both of the first two innings with Tackett’s home run and RBI singles by Hawkins and Taylor Smith. In the second, Hawkins’ double and Smith’s triple plated three of the five runs, and Anna Kent and starting pitcher MariAnna Young each hit RBI singles.
Young grabbed the win for Nettleton, allowing just two Belmont hits and no walks.
“Nettleton has a great bunch of girls,” Belmont coach Brad Marlar said. “They’re a well-coached team. We didn’t help ourselves by making errors and missing some of the routine fly balls that we should have caught.”
With the win, Nettleton will move on to face Kossuth next weekend.
“Everything we do, it’s just all a team effort,” Rhea said. “They always find ways to win games as a team, and that’s what makes it fun to coach them.”