By Adam Gore
Special to the Journal
MOOREVILLE – An offensive surge vaulted the Nettleton Lady Tigers past the Mooreville Lady Troopers Tuesday in the Class 3A North championship series.
Nettleton advances to Saturday’s 3A championship series after sweeping Mooreville 15-3 and 15-8.
Trailing 8-3 in the fifth inning of Game 2, Nettleton (26-3) pushed across 10 runs on nine hits, three walks, and an error.
“When they get going, this is one of the best lineups from top to bottom we’ve had since I’ve been at Nettleton,” said coach Dana Rhea, whose team faces Choctaw Central. “We came out a little flat to start the game, but they finally got the bats going and when that happens, these girls are pretty dang tough.”
Mooreville took a 6-2 lead when Hallie Donald sent a towering shot over the wall in left-center for a grand slam in the top of the second.
“Give Mooreville credit,” said Rhea. “They came out red hot to start the game and that’s exactly what you want to see from your team after a loss as a coach.”
The Lady Troopers added two more runs to go up 8-3 in the top of the fourth on a two-out single by Kelsey Minga.
The win sends Nettleton back to the 3A championship series for the fourth time in five seasons.
“We really felt like we should have been [in the championship game] last year and we reminded the girls of the feeling they had last season and how that was something they didn’t want to experience again this year,” Rhea said.
Harley Tucker led the Lady Tigers with four hits. Brittany Adams and Kaleigh Tackett added three hits each. Jabria Pounds had a solo home run in her first at-bat before seeing four straight intentional walks, including one with bases loaded.
“Kaleigh and Jabria might be the best one-two1-2 time, but it’s not just them,” said Rhea. “Our leadoff batter and the rest of the lineup are just as important because without them we wouldn’t be able to have big innings and the success we’ve had this season.”
In Game 1, Pounds and Brianna Holland each homered, while Tackett went 3-for-3 with a walk and a pair of two-run doubles.
Minga went 2-for-3 with a home run while Analyse Long went 3-for-3 with a double and a run scored for Mooreville.