Lady Hornets face Newton Co.

Published 11:26 pm Thursday, May 5, 2011

For the second straight week, Poplarville opens a Class 4A South State softball series on the road against an opponent nicknamed the Lady Cougars.

The Lady Hornets can only hope the results this week are the same.

Head coach Jonathan Ray’s crew travels to Newton County tonight to open the Class 4A South State semifinals. Game two and three if necessary, just like last week, will take place in Poplarville on Saturday.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

The Lady Hornets opened the postseason against homestanding Lawrence County last week, Poplarville fell 3-1 Friday night on the road. But at home on Saturday, the Lady Hornets swept the Lady Cougars 6-1 and then 11-1 behind the standout pitching of Rachel Hickman and the impressive hitting of Micah Davis.

Hickman struck out 11 in the first win and eight in the final game, picking up the wins in both games. Davis had four hits in each of the wins.

But the Lady Cougars had a record of right at the .500 mark on the season, so this week’s assignment appears to be much tougher for Poplarville.

Newton County stands an impressive 29-2 on the season, and is ranked as the top fast pitch  prep team in the state. Newton County, a night after committing four errors but holding on for a 9-5 win over Northeast Lauderdale, lost 7-6 in Game 2 of their best-of-three, first-round Class 4A playoff series with the Trojans on Saturday. The Cougars did rebound to take the decisive third game 14-0.

“In the playoffs, you just survive and advance,” NCHS head coach Justin Chaney Chaney said. “Everyone who knows me knows that I preach small ball and defense, and I didn’t think we played with any aspect of small ball or defense in those first two games. I feel real lucky to advance.”

Poplarville stands 18-9 on the season, and The Lady Hornets have won 14 of their last 16 games, after starting the season 4-6.

The winner of this series will face the winnner of the West Lauderdale-North Pike series next week in the South State championship.

Poplarville beat NCHS two years ago for the state championship in slow pitch.