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Lady Hornets play for South State

By CURTIS ROCKWELL

Item Sports Editor

POPLARVILLE — The Poplarville Lady Hornets will try and make history tonight.

Head coach Jonathan Ray’s crew travels to Quitman High meeting the Lady Panthers for the Class 4A South State prep slow pitch championship. It’s the third time in the past in the past 15 years that the Lady Hornets are playing for the chance to go to the state championship round, and the Lady Hornets are looking for their second trip to the title series after legendary coach Pete Jackson guided the team to that level in the mid 1990’s.

“We know they are a very good team, they were ranked number one in the state for most of the year,” Ray, whose team stands 18-4 on the year, said. “But we like the way we have been playing, we just need to keep it up.”

The Lady Hornets have won four straight games since the playoffs began last week, sweeping both Northeast Lauderdale and Lawrence County over that span.

Poplarville is currently ranked seventh in the state and Quitman second. Quitman is 20-1 on the season, losing only to Northeast Lauderdale.

The Lady Panthers, Region 5-5A champs, have also won four straight games in the postseason. They began the playoffs with a 2-1 and 13-2 sweep of Picayune at home and then went to D’Iberville on Saturday and swept the Lady Warriors 3-1 and 8-1.

Poplarville won the Region 7-4A title.

“They are probably the best defensive team and one of the best offensive teams we have played this year,” Ray added. “They are very well coached and we are going to play in a tough environment.”

The Lady Hornets lost senior starting outfielder Erin Cutrer as the playoffs began with a foot injury, but her teammates seem to be rallying around the fallen team favorite.

“We seemed to have gained some type of focus and concentration and are playing really well,” Ray said. “The girls have a determination about them.”

It’s the second straight season the Lady Hornets have traveled to Quitman in the playoffs, as the Lady Panthers knocked off Poplarville 4-1and 7-1 in the second round last year.

Brooke Dew won both games for Quitman on Saturday, and is expected to face Poplarvile’s Allysa Graeter on the mound tonight.