Mitchell honored with field dedication, Picayune falls short to Long Beach 4-3

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, March 21, 2017

PICAYUNE — Prior to a seven-inning fight to the finish against Long Beach, Picayune held a field dedication to honor Softball Head Coach Kristi Mitchell by naming the field after the Picayune graduate and current Picayune Memorial High School Assistant Principal.

“It’s a complete honor,” Mitchell said. “I enjoyed the response from all the fans and former players that came back to share that moment with me.”

Mitchell currently holds 12 district championships, four South State Championships—2004, 2005, 2010 and 2011—and an overall record of 441-270 throughout her 21 years of coaching the Lady Tide.

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After the ceremony, the Picayune Lady Tide marched onto the field wearing custom maroon jerseys, each of which had “The Mitch” embroidered on the front.

At first, Long Beach was batting well, as Abbey Fisher broke the ice with a pop fly to left field that gave teammate Kaitlynn McGoey a chance to sprint home from third base, gaining an early 1-0 lead against the Lady Tide in the 1st inning.

Then, the Lady Tide began to gain positive energy after catcher Alyssa Pinero made a diving catch to deny the Lady Bearcats a chance to score, ending the 2nd inning.

A 3rd-inning battle for the lead changed the course of Friday’s game, including both teams getting two runs and a pitching change for the Lady Tide in which senior Megan Dudenhefer replaced senior Elizabeth Taggard on the mound.

The team rallied behind Dudenhefer, who ended the game with eight strikeouts and one run without walking a single batter during her four innings of pitching. However, in the final inning, the Lady Bearcats squeezed out the final run that put them over Picayune, 4-3.

Taggard had two RBIs for Picayune, along with the team’s only double of the night. Teammate Jessica Magee connected on three hits and rounded the bases once.

“I am very pleased with our start to this season. We are already improving and growing. We are in a hard district and it’s going to be anyone’s for the taking,” Mitchell said.

The Lady Tide will begin district play as they head to Hattiesburg to face the Tigers on Tuesday at 6 p.m.