Lady Hornets defeat district rival

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, March 14, 2018

POPLARVILLE — Poplarville’s Lady Hornets softball team claimed its second district victory of the season by defeating Purvis High School 9-5 Monday night.

In the bottom of the first inning, a triple by Rakeya Travis allowed Cassidy Cartwright and Aislynn Andrews to score for the Lady Hornets (9-3, 2-0 Region 7-4A) and give the team a temporary 2-0 lead.  Travis extended the team’s lead in the next play by scoring off an RBI by Manya Gilmore. The inning came to an end after Harley and Hannah Blanchard were tagged out while trying to reach first base.

The bottom of the third inning began with Poplarville’s Andrews being walked to first base where she capitalized on an opportunity to steal second.

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The next batter, Travis, was also walked to base. After a base hit by Gilmore, Andrews was tagged out while attempting to reach third. A groundout by Harley allowed Travis and Gilmore to move into scoring positions by reaching third and second base. With one out from the inning coming to an end, Hannah hit the ball between second and third, allowing Travis and Gilmore to reach home plate, giving the Lady Hornets a 5-0 lead.

In the top of the fourth inning, Kalli McRaney and Ashlyn Lawler scored for the Lady Tornadoes (2-3, 0-1 Region 7-4A) and cut the team’s deficit to a 5-2 score.

The Lady Hornets responded with two runs of their own in the bottom of the fourth after Andrews and Travis scored off of base hits by Gilmore and Harley.

After Purvis’ Sarah Ballard struck out while at-bat and Lily Curtis was tagged out at first, Gracey Baucom hit the ball deep into left field and made her way to third base during the top of the fifth inning. One batter later, a hit by McRaney just inside the foul line permitted Elise Jackson, who came in as a pinch runner for Baucom, to score for Purvis and cut Poplarville’s lead to 7-3.

In the bottom of the fifth, the Lady Hornets found themselves one out away from the end of the inning. But after Madison Pittman was walked to first, a hit to center field by Cartwright allowed Pittman to score.

Three batters later, Cartwright scored the last run of the game for Poplarville via a hit to left field by Travis.

With one last opportunity to tie the game, runs by Curtis and Baucom for the Lady Tornadoes in the top of the seventh cut Poplarville’s lead 9-5. The effort to tie the game by Purvis came up short as a flyout by Anna Claire Barrett and a groundout by Kadie Hale brought the game to an end.

“The three main stats from tonight’s game are that we didn’t strike out while at-bat, we were able to hit the ball when we were in a two-out situation and our pitchers didn’t walk anybody,” Poplarville Head Softball Coach Jonathan Ray said. “Purvis is a great team but I’m proud of our girls because they got themselves ready for this game and they executed well tonight.”

Poplarville’s Travis was 2-for-2 with a triple and three RBIs, Cartwright went 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI and Gilmore and Hannah each batted 1-for-4 and had two RBIs each.

On the mound, Gracie Raby won her fourth game of the season after pitching for six innings, in which she allowed 10 hits, five runs and struck out three batters.

Poplarville will play its next two games on the road when the team travels to Greene County on Thursday and Sumrall on March 19. Both games are slated to start at 6:30 p.m.