By Brandon Speck/Monroe Journal
NETTLETON – Happy 17th birthday Anna Kent. You got your wish, this one at least.
Kent and Nettled remained unbeaten as the Lady Tigers (24-0) made quick work Saturday of visiting South Pontotoc in the quarterfinals of the 2011 MHSAA Class 3A state slowpitch quarterfinals, sweeping the best-of-three with a 6-2 win and an 8-2 win.
The Lady Tigers (24-0) will travel to Kossuth in a bid to make a third straight trip to the state finals, winning it two seasons ago.
South coach Adam Patterson credited the fast pace and series loss to Kent’s pitching and her team’s defense.
“Today I thought their pitcher may have been the best player on the field,” said Patterson. “I thought their defense was solid, just never did make a mistake.”
Jabria Pounds had a lot to say too. Pounds drove in five runs in the sweep, four in Game 1, two on a home run, two more on a two-run double for a 5-1 lead.
“At this point in the year, you’re just happy to be winning,” said Nettleton coach Dana Rhea. “You’ve got four good teams left. We did just enough and they didn’t do quite enough.”
In the opener, Emily Henson and CC Costilow (22-8) each hit solo home runs but the Lady Cougars (22-8) were outhit 10-4. In the Nettleton win, Kaleigh Tackett had an RBI sac fly. Chelsea Tucker had an RBI single after singles from Kent and Molly Bramlett in the sixth.
Tackett’s sac fly followed one of four South errors as did Pounds’ two-run double after Lauren Baldwyn loaded the bases in the fifth.
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In Game 2, South committed three errors, one in the first after Makenzie Hawkins and Baldwyn singled and Pounds made it 1-0 with a groundout. Kent’s groundout made it 2-0.
South got within 2-1 on Breanna Kitchens’ sac fly before the Lady Tigers plated three in the top of the second.
Tucker had an RBI fielder’s choice, Harley Tucker a single with a scoring error and Hawkins an RBI double.
South scored its second run in the fourth on Kaitlyn Cox’s base loaded sacrifice fly.
Baldwyn had an RBI sac fly in the fourth before Nettleton scored a pair in the seventh after Pounds tripled and scored on Tackett’s sac fly and Bramlett added a sac fly.