By Brandon Speck
RIDGELAND – Nettleton left Saturday’s championship series disappointed in its play, but it would have taken a lot to beat slugging Choctaw Central.
Choctaw Central won the MHSAA Class 3A state slow-pitch championship at Freedom Ridge Park with a sweep of the usually big-hitting Lady Tigers. Choctaw won Game 1 14-4 in five innings and 12-3 in Game 2.
“We ran into a good team, but we just didn’t play,” Nettleton coach Dana Rhea said.
Choctaw Central (30-6) had big innings in each game against Nettleton pitchers Kylie Leach and Katibeth Finney. The Lady Warriors scored eight runs in the first inning of Game 1 and started Game 2 with a 10-run first.
Power-hitting Nettleton (26-5) managed a pair of home runs over the 250-foot temporary fence in the series – from Kaleigh Tackett and Jabria Pounds – but Choctaw sprayed 27 hits all over.
Taylor Smith had an RBI triple and Harley Tucker an RBI single in the first inning of Game 2 as Nettleton jumped out to a 2-0 lead. But Choctaw scored 10 runs in the bottom of the inning, including a two-run double by Candace Jefferson.
Lauren Baldwyn added an RBI single, but Nettleton committed eight uncharacteristic errors in the series.
“If you don’t catch and throw the ball and hit and pitch, you’re not going to be successful,” Rhea said.