Lady Tide playing for state title

Published 2:34 pm Friday, October 15, 2010

This is what you play for. This is where all the practice and hard work in the hot summer becomes worthwhile.

Picayune will face three time defending state champion New Hope Saturday for the Class 5A slow pitch softball state championship.

The best of three series will begin at 11 a .m., at the V.A. Complex in Jackson. Opening ceremoies will take place at 10:30 a.m.

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Picayune has never won a state championship in a major girls sport. “I think the girls realize the opportunity they have, but we haven’t really talked a lot about the past,” veteran Picayune head coach Kristi Mitchell said. “We are playing New Hope Saturday for this year’s state championship. That is what we are focues on right now.”

The Lady Tide played in the Class 5A state finals in 2004 and the Class 4A state finals in 2005, losing to Grenada and New Hope, respectively. The Lady Trojans have won four of the past five state tiles. At the same time Picayune was beating Brookhaven in three games for the South State championship, New Hope was sweeping past pearl as D.J. Sanders and Jessica Moore each had three hits in game one, and Lauren Holifield had four hits in game two to lead New Hope to 12-2 and 11-4 victories against the Lady Pirates for the Class 5A North State title.

Picayune stands 24-5 and New Hope is 24-4. The Lady Trojans beat Brookhaven last season for their third consecutive state title, and 12th overall. Picayune has never won a state softball title.

Hillary Dickens is hitting .515 to lead the Lady Tide, while Jennifer Walker is at .506. Dickens leads in RBI with 33 and Tiffany Devore has 30. Dickens and Walker have four homers each and Tee Myers and Clarissa Jones each have three.

 “I think we’re doing well,” New Hope head coach Tabitha Beard said. “There are still a few things I saw I would like to work on, but as a coach you always have that. If you look at where we started and where we are now, it is a great thing. It is real exciting how much they have grown.”