Lady Cougars trip NHS

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 9, 2003

NATCHEZ &045; Never has a one-run loss in the last inning felt this good.

Three losses in as many games had the Natchez High Lady Bulldogs limping back home Saturday with the playoffs just a little over a week away. So they turned it around Monday against Class 3A power Lawrence County before the Lady Cougars rallied for an 11-10 win at the Natchez-Adams Softball Complex.

&uot;We’ve been kind of struggling,&uot; said NHS head coach Leigh Anne Mason, whose team lost to Brandon, Bogue Chitto and Brookhaven on Saturday at the Brookhaven tournament. &uot;We lost three in a row, and this was a good game for us to come back on. Lawrence County has a good chance to win state. For us to lose to them by one run, I think we did a good job.&uot;

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The Lady Cougars (22-3) are as good as they’re billed, and they overcame a two-run deficit in the seventh to score three for the lead. Then they held Natchez High hitless in its last at-bat, even taking a double play on infield grounder, when the Lady Bulldogs had the heart of their lineup coming to bat.

&uot;It was a great ball game, and for the fans it was very interesting,&uot; Lawrence County head coach Tarvey Ward said. &uot;They hit the ball well, and we hit it. I guess we got a hit when we had to have it. We’ve hit it hard all year, and we’ve come back a few times.&uot;

The Lady Cougars couldn’t get the bats rolling after the third inning when they took an 8-6 lead. They went scoreless over the next three innings and had just one hit before coming to their last at-bat when Emily Smith led off with an infield single.

Kelly Stokes followed with a single, and Stacy Smith’s single drove in Emily Smith to cut it to 8-7. Kaila Givens then launched one to right center for a flyout, but Stokes tagged from third and scored to tie it up.

The throw came to home plate, but Ashley Wood’s throw to third in hopes of getting Stacy Smith was a little off to score Stacy Smith for the 11-10 lead.

&uot;We went out and were looking for three up, three down to take the game,&uot; Mason said. &uot;But they hit the ball hard and got those runs in that last inning. They’re 22-3 for a reason. They’ve got a good ball club.&uot;

The Lady Bulldogs got their leadoff batter on in the bottom half when Sarah Weaver walked. Honda Griffin flied out before slugger Tracy Davis reached on an error to put runners at first and second with one out.

Krystal Arnold then grounded out to shortstop Emily Smith, who touched second and fired to first for the double play to end the game.

&uot;I’ve got a senior-laden ball club,&uot; Ward said. &uot;That’s one thing about seniors &045; they’ll do things a little harder than sophomores will. We’ve got some decent speed. We didn’t hit it as well as we can, but they played well.&uot;

Natchez took the lead in the fourth after loading the bases with two outs for Griffin, who put one over the outfield to score Rosetta Ikard, Chelsea Hall and Weaver for the 10-8 lead. Griffin, however, was thrown out trying to stretch it into a triple for the last out of the inning.

&uot;They’re explosive,&uot; Ward said. &uot;They’ve got some good athletes. They have explosive potential &045; that’s what they have. I’m surprised they didn’t win any games in Brookhaven.&uot;

The Lady Cougars took the early 4-1 lead, fell behind 6-4 but scored four in the third to regain the lead. Givens singled

home Emily Smith before Cori Walker’s triple scored Stacy Smith and Givens for the 5-4 lead. Keke Slay’s single scored Walker for the 6-4 lead.

Natchez got the lead in the second with five runs, four of which came on a Mable Green grand slam. Natchez had the sacks packed with one out before Green put one over the left-fielder’s head and rolled to the fence.

&uot;You can count on Mable to hit, I can tell you that,&uot; Mason said. &uot;Mable plays hard, and Honda plays hard. When you get the bases loaded, you want one of them at the plate.&uot;