By Melissa Meador/Monroe Journal
RIDGELAND – Nettleton fell behind after a big first inning from defending 3A champion St. Patrick and stranded six baserunners in an 11-0 loss in the first game of the MHSAA Class 3A fast pitch state championship series on Friday.
“Their pitcher (Sabrina Turner) did a great job tonight. We’ve just got to regroup and play again tomorrow,” Nettleton coach Dana Rhea said. “It’s a whole new day.”
Turner sent the first pitch from Nettleton starter MariAnna Young (14-5) over the center field wall for a leadoff solo home run, and the Lady Irish sent 11 to the plate in the first.
Young left with one out in the first inning to give way to Katibeth Finney, who held the Lady Irish until a ball bounced off the forehead of Nettleton shortstop Lauren Baldwyn before falling into the outfield for a two-run single in the fourth.
Eighth-grader Kylie Leach pitched a pair of scoreless innings before back-to-back doubles from Emma Castanedo and Ashlyn Williams and an RBI groundout from Raven Blackwell in the seventh that led to a pair of runs.
“Katibeth came in for a couple of innings and shut them down. That ball in the fourth had a bad hop for a base hit, and that’s the breaks you get sometimes,” Rhea said. “Kylie did a fine job too and hadn’t thrown in a few weeks. I’m really proud of them.”
Nettleton (24-8) had the chance to get on the board in the bottom of the first after singles from Molly Bramlett and Taylor Smith but both were left on base. In the sixth, Lauren Baldwyn led off the inning with a base hit, followed by a walk from Smith before Turner retired the next three in order on a pair of groundouts and a strikeout.
Turner scattered five Nettleton hits over her seven innings and struck out seven. Game 2 is scheduled for 10 a.m. today.