By Melissa Meador
ECRU – Nettleton got off to a slow start in both games but belted out 11 home runs in 19-3 and 13-2 wins over North Pontotoc to advance in the Class 3A slow-pitch playoffs.
“It’s all about focus. The first couple of innings in both games, we came out not ready to play,” Nettleton coach Dana Rhea said. “Once we get going though, this bunch can really hit the ball.”
The Lady Tigers (24-3) scored all but one run off the long ball in Game 2. Jabria Pounds hit a two-run shot and a three-run blast, while Taylor Smith, hit two of her three homers in Game 2. Smith had seven RBIs on the day.
Kimberly Monteith had a solo shot in both games, while Brianna Holland had a pair of solo homers in the 19-3 game one win.
Harley Tucker’s solo home run was part of a four-run third inning in the opener for the Lady Tigers. Kaleigh Tackett blasted a grand slam in a seven-run second inning after Pounds was intentionally walked. Lauren Baldwyn had three hits and Lauren Hall added two.
“We don’t want to play the game living by the home run,” Rhea said. “But when we get on one, and it goes out, we’re all for that too.
In the second game, North Pontotoc scored its runs on solo homers from Katie Denton and Dee Williams.
In a Game 1 loss, Kelsey Robertson had two hits and two RBIs.
“We tried to keep it close in the second game,” North Pontotoc coach Cee Cee Austin said. “With the way Nettleton swings the bat, it’s hard to play a game with them, and I expect to see them win a state championship.”
Nettleton will play at Mooreville in the 3A North finals on Tuesday night.
Amory advanced to the Class 4A North finals against defending state champ Corinth with Saturday’s sweep of Caledonia. The Lady Panthers won 10-0 and 3-2.
It will be East Union at Baldwyn for the 2A North championship. Baldwyn is 26-2 after sweeping Leland.
The best-of-three title series are scheduled for Saturday. The state championships are Saturday in Ridgeland.