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Clarkdale set to host softball powers in weekend tournament

By By Rocky Higginbotham/The Meridian Star
March 15, 2001
While most schools in the area are still "getting their feet wet" with the sport of fast-pitch softball, the Clarkdale Lady Bulldogs are old pros.
Rick Roberson's Lady Dogs were the first area team to field a fast-pitch team, and have been bringing some of the best talent in the twin states area to Meridian every year since.
Saturday, they'll do it again.
Clarkdale hosts the 2001 Spring Fling Fast-Pitch Softball Tournament Friday and Saturday at Northeast Park, and the seventh-annual event just keeps growing each year.
This weekend, 24 teams will keep the four fields at Northeast Park quite busy, and the competition should be tight again.
Four of the two dozen teams are from out of state: Tuscaloosa County, Demopolis and Hillcrest from Alabama; and Haywood County from Tennessee.
All three Alabama teams are big-school powers, while Haywood sports a solid program guided by Tack Moore, who may be best known around Meridian for his days as the Northeast Lauderdale football coach and an area umpire and official.
Defending MHSAA Class 3A-2A-1A state champion Newton County is in the field, as is a Clarkdale team that got out of the gates this season with nine straight wins.
Other area schools include Northeast Lauderdale, Union and Louisville, while state title contenders Clinton, New Hope, Pascagoula, Madison Central, Terry and North Pontotoc highlight the rest of the field.
Teams will play either five-inning contests or games with a one-hour time limit, and an eight-run rule will be in effect after three-and-a-half or four innings.
The action gets started on three fields Friday at 4 p.m., with Newton County battling Louisville, Madison Central taking on Harrison Central and Clinton battling Gautier.
The 5:15 games include a pair of local matchups between Northeast and Union and Clarkdale and North Pontotoc.
There are 34 games on tap for Saturday, with action starting at 9 a.m. on all four fields. The last games are scheduled to start at 8 p.m.
No single tournament champion will be crowned, but each team is guaranteed four games within its respective pool.
A big concession stand will be available, as well as t-shirts, softball merchandise and prizes including a new Worth bat given to the player with the highest batting average during the tournament.
Rocky Higginbotham is the sports editor of The Meridian Star. E-mail him at rhigginbotham@themeridianstar.com.

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