By Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal
MOOREVILLE – Perry Wilburn has a color-coded statistics sheet for his Mooreville fastpitch softball team. In the hitting category, green is above average, yellow is average and red is below average.
“We don’t have very many in the green,” Wilburn said. “We’re batting .325 as a team, which is better than I thought it was.”
Wilburn hopes to see the Lady Troopers swing the bats with more authority, starting today when they open the Class 3A state playoffs with a best-of-three series against Corinth.
Mooreville (19-6) captured Division 2-3A’s top seed, edging defending state champion Nettleton on a tiebreaker. The teams split during the regular season.
The Lady Troopers didn’t win the division last season, falling to Nettleton. It was the first time since 1999 they hadn’t won a division title. “Our division’s tough,” Wilburn said. “Just to get in the playoffs is big. Nettleton’s been really tough the last three or four years.”
Today’s game is scheduled for 6 p.m. in Corinth while Saturday’s second game is scheduled for noon in Mooreville. A deciding third game, if needed, would follow.
“I don’t know a whole lot about Corinth,” Wilburn said. “People call and tell you things, but you just don’t know.”
Wilburn does know who he’s depending on.
In the pitching circle, he looks to sophomore right-hander Teri Richey (11-3, 1.49 ERA). The hard-throwing first-year starter has recorded 98 strikeouts in 96 innings.
“Teri has good movement on the ball,” Wilburn said. “She’s a big body out there. She’s got a chance to be a pretty good before she finishes.”
Alex White (6-3, 3.08 ERA) adds pitching depth. The junior has recorded 48 strikeouts in 61 innings.
Lauren Lewis, a senior first baseman, leads the team with a .463 batting average and 14 RBI. Junior catcher Vic White is batting .361 with a team-high 28 RBI. White, a tough out, has struck out only four times in 97 at-bats.
“I feel like we’re solid in every spot,” Wilburn said of his team’s chances of success in the postseason. “We need to play like we’re capable of playing.
“We’ve played pretty well defensively, but that’s what we stress. Hitting’s were we need to improve. We’re leaving a lot of runners on, not moving them like we should.”
Contact Gene Phelps at 678-1593 or firstname.lastname@example.org.