OXFORD – Different coach, same result for the Houston Lady Hilltoppers.
An 11-7 win at Lafayette on Monday evening punched a third straight ticket to Ridgeland for the MHSAA Class 4A state championship series.
“What these girls do is just incredible,” said first-year coach Jeffrey Mann. “It’s nothing I’m doing.”
Houston won Game 1 of the three-game series 8-2. Monday, Lafayette scored the first two runs, but a grand slam from Houston leadoff hitter Chelsea Gates broke a 2-all tie and propelled the offense.
Houston (25-7) won a state championship in 2012 and for the third time will face Newton County. Game 1 in the best-of-three series at Freedom Ridge Park is scheduled for 6 p.m. Friday. Gates is one of three seniors, outfielder Josie Anderson and Taylor Lancaster the others. Mann said Lancaster didn’t have more than three innings pitched before this season and is 17-2 this year.
Sophomore Alexis McShan (.453) and junior Talaja Echoles (.449) lead the Hilltoppers in hitting. Echoles has hit eight home runs.
“They’re hitting. They’re making plays. They really wanted it,” Mann said. “I’ve got a good team.”