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Poplarville knocks off Picayune

Over the weekend, top-ranked Poplarville fell from the ranks of the unbeaten.

On Tuesday, the Lady Hornets made sure they stayed atop another set of standings.

Poplarville came to Picayune to renew an old Pearl River County rivalry in slow pitch softball, and came away with a convincing 12-1 win in five innings.

The win moves Poplarville to 19-2 overall, and 4-0 in Division 8-4A play and virtually clinches the league title for the Lady Hornets.

Picayune falls to 15-6 overall and 1-2 in league play. It was the second time in two weeks that Poplarville had 10-run ruled the Lady Tide, beating Picayune 14-4 in Poplarville previously.

Poplarville scored three runs in the first and five more in the second to take a quick 8-0 lead and never looked back in the win.

“We got off to a good start, and that was a key for us,” Poplarville head coach Jonathan Ray said. “I think the girls felt like they had something to prove after losing over the weekend, especially on defense. We made some errors in the loss to Quitman and we knew we had to come back and get focused again, especially getting back into division play.”

The host team Picayune on Tuesday was kind early, committing a few mistakes to let Poplarville jump out to the early lead. “We made a whole bunch of errors early and they took advantage of it,” Picayune head coach Kristie Mitchell said. “And you can’t do that against good teams and Poplarville has a very good team. The bottom line was we just didn’t play well enough to win and they did, so you have to give them the credit.”

Larke Nightengale and Christian Cuevas did most of the damage atop the Lady Hornets line-up, as each had three hits and Nigthengale drove in four runs while Cuevas drove in three runs.

Kayla Ross had two singles and drove in two runs as well, as Poplarville banged out 14 hits in the five inning win.

Nightengale also came up big defensively, as she caught a ball for an out deep in left-centerfield and then fired the ball to second to pick off a Lady Tide base runner that was tagging up from first and attempting to advance to second.

Ray said that even though his team won just two of four games over the weekend in the Meridian Tournament, events like that should help prepare his team for the postseason.

“That’s why we scheduled those games,” Ray, whose team will play three games in Brookhaven in a tournament this weekend, said. “Hopefully playing in those type of tournaments will get us prepared for the playoffs.”

Picayune scored its only run on Tuesday in the second inning, when Tiffany Reed singled and later scored.

The Lady Tide will play three division games over the next week and that will decide whether or not Picayune earns the second and final playoff berth in the division.

“We control our own destiny, so it’s up to us,” Mitchell added. “If we win we’ll go, if not somebody else will.”

Taylor Meyers was the winning pitcher Tuesday, moving to 17-2 on the year while Hillary Dickens took the loss.