By Brandon Speck/Monroe Journal
JACKSON – Nettleton’s Lady Tigers are running out of fingers and the latest ring is a perfect fit.
For the second time in three years, Nettleton is atop Class 3A, winning the 2011 MHSAA slow-pitch championship series with a sweep of Southeast Lauderdale and finishing the season at 28-0.
“I can’t say enough about this team,” said Nettleton coach Dana Rhea. “I’m super proud of this bunch.”
Nettleton, winners of the last three 3A fastpitch titles too, beat Southeast Lauderdale 6-1 and 12-5 at V.A. Fields on Saturday in the Lady Tigers’ third straight trip to the championship series. They also won in 2009.
Tied at 5 in Game 2, the Lady Tigers took the lead on a Harley Tucker’s RBI single in the third and went up 7-5 in the fourth as Jabria Pounds tripled and winning pitcher Anna Kent (28-0) grounded out to drive her home.
Nettleton scored five to pull away in the top of the sixth. Lauren Baldwyn scored when Anna Kent reached on one of two errors in the inning. Nettleton got RBI singles from senior Korie Beth Leach, Chelsea Tucker and Taylor Smith and a sac fly from Tucker.
“I told the girls ‘Yes, being undefeated would be nice, but that was the least of my concerns,'” said Rhea. “We went to
Kossuth Tuesday and I told them the same thing. We weren’t worried about 28-0 or anything else and 0. We were worried about winning two games at Kossuth and two at the V.A. Fields.”
In the opener, Southeast (17-15) took a 1-0 lead on Katie Dawson’s sac fly before Nettleton scored two in the bottom of the first on Kent’s sac fly and when Leach reached on an error.
Nettleton added one in the third on Molly Bramlett’s sac fly and three more in the fourth, two on Pounds’ two-run single, another on Kent’s RBI single.
Taylor Powell (17-15) took both losses for Southeast.
Senior Makenzie Hawkins said the undefeated mark makes this title feel even more special.
“It makes it a lot more. To go 28-0, it’s unreal. You don’t even think about it,” Hawkins said.