Lady Hornets stop lady Tide

Published 6:06 pm Friday, September 19, 2008

By CURTIS ROCKWELL

Item Sports Editor

POPLARVILLE — Round one goes to Poplarville.

The homestanding Lady Hornets beat rival Picayune 8-1 in Region 8-4A prep slow pitch softball action Thursday night. The win moves Poplarville into sole possession of first place in the league, as the Lady Hornets move to 3-0 in the loop and 9-2 overall.

Poplarville used some timely hitting, a solid pitching performance by Allysa Graeter and a stout defensive performance to pull out the decision that dropped Picayune into second place.

“It was a big win for us,” Poplarville head coach Jonathan Ray said. “We played pretty well as a team in just about every phase, and that’s what you have to do against a good team like Picayune to come out with a win.”

The Lady Hornets got two runs in the second stanza as Kayla Fendalson and Erin Cutrer drove in runs, and then took control of the game with three more runs in the third frame thanks to a few miscues by the Lady Tide defense.

“I told the girls before the game that whoever played the best defense would win the game,” Picayune head coach Kristie Mitchell, whose team is 12-3 overall and 2-1 in league play, said. “They played outstanding defense and they put some hits together and that was the key. Plus, I think they wanted it tonight more than we did.”

Megan Ladner had the big blow in the third for Poplarville, smashing a two run double off the base of the center field fence. Chelsea Theriot then drove in Ladner to make it 5-0.

Ladner and Paige Miller also drove in runs later for the Lady Hornets to wrap up the scoring.

Brandi Rester was a key defensively all night from her spot in left field for Poplarville, making three outstanding catches including one early in the game that saved at least two runs.

“If she doesn’t make that catch, it’s a different game,” Ray added. “Defense is something that we practice every day and we try to instill into our players at a young age how important that is.”

Graeter scattered nine hits, all singles, in picking up the win.

Mallorie Mixon and Tiffany Reed each had two hits apiece for Picayune.

Brooke Ladner drove in the only run for the Lady Tide.

Janessa Dedeaux had two hits to pace Poplarville, while Theriot had a double and Cutrer a triple.

The teams will meet again, in a all likelihood for the league title, on Sept. 30th in Picayune.

“We didn’t play well enough to win, but it’s not the end of the world,” Mitchell concluded.