By NEMS Daily Journal
It’s always a concern, starting a crucial playoff series on the other team’s turf.
Nettleton took care of business in its Class 3A semifinal opener on Thursday night by scoring seven runs in the first inning and rolling to a 12-2 victory in six innings at Booneville.
The best-of-three series shifts to Nettleton on Saturday, with the first pitch in Game 2 at noon.
“We’re considered to have the homefield advantage, but I think it’s an advantage to start a series at home,” said Nettleton coach Chris Kidd. “We feel very good about coming up here and leaving with a victory.”
The Tigers had 11 hits to support pitcher Michele hester (23-0), including triples by Haley Parker, Makenzie Hawkins and Haydden Payne.
Hester, a junior, “does a real good job, always putting the ball in the strike zone for us,” Kidd said. “She doesn’t get a whole lot of strikeouts, but she does hit her spots.”
And the team fielded cleanly behind Hester, who tossed a four-hitter. “We’ve always been that way,” Kidd said. “We know that defense wins games.”
– Hatley 11, Eupora 8: The home team took care of business after falling behind 8-4 in the second inning. The series switches to Eupora on Saturday.
– Amory 6, Lewisburg 5: Amory will head home with a one-game lead in the Class 4A North finals.
Game 2 is set for 7 p.m. tonight in Amory.
Trailing 5-1 with two outs in the fifth, senior catcher Zack Randolph walked with the bases loaded and Justin Rone was hit by a pitch to pull Amory (26-5) within 5-3. Will Cox then drove in three runs on a double against starter Aaron Smith to put Amory ahead for good.
“Coming from behind says a lot about our kids,” Amory coach Chad Williams said. “They didn’t give up. They had a prime opportunity to, but they did a great job rallying. What was really impressive is we had more fans there than they did.”
Freshman Tanner Poole singled to start the two-out rally.
In the bottom of fifth, Cox came on in relief of starter Drew Pickle and threw five pitches to get two fly outs with Lewisburg runners on first and third.
Lewisburg (26-7) had scored five fourth-inning runs. Randolph had a solo home run for Amory. Pickle (9-3) got the win for Amory.
– Myrtle 7, Smithville 6: Jimel Judon won it with a walkoff home run in the eighth inning, capping a wild comeback for the home team.
Myrtle (19-8) trailed 6-2 heading into the bottom of the seventh and scratched out four runs to tie it, with Justin Pickens tying it with his two-run, two-out single.
The teams play again tonight at Smithville.
– It’ll take some work today if Northeast Mississippi is going to add another state championship to the four golf titles already claimed this week.
Saltillo, the host team, is 20 strokes back in the Class 5A tournament at the Natchez Trace Golf Club. West Jones (320) is out front, closely trailed by Pearl River (325).
Andrew Spiers of Pearl River held the first-round individual lead with a 74. Ryan Blackwell of West Jones was at 75. Adam Hall of Saltillo was in a tie for eighth at 81.
Oxford (366) was in a tie for 10th place.
In the Class 1A tournament at Beau Pre in Natchez, Cathedral (331) is closely trailed by St. Aloysius (335). Thrasher (373) is third.
Austin Byrum of West Union and Chris Ingram of St. Aloysius shared the first-round lead at 74.