Winning streak over; Lady Cougars brace for Northeast, Clarkdale
By By Rocky Higginbotham/The Meridian Star
April 2, 2001
The winning streak is over and one of Newton County's most reliable players could be out until the playoffs begin.
But as NCHS fast-pitch coach Mack Fanning put it, now the defending Class 3A/2A/1A state champion Lady Cougars can "find out what they're made of."
Newton County, after opening the season with 20 consecutive wins, dropped two-of-three games Saturday in the Clinton Tournament.
The Lady Cougars, now 21-2, host Northeast Lauderdale today in a single game at 5 p.m., before a division showdown with rival Clarkdale Tuesday at 6:45.
Newton County started the day with a 3-1 win over Class 5A Northwest Rankin, but dropped a 4-2 decision to 5A Madison Central in a contest that saw sophomore catcher Kristin Chaney go down with an ankle injury.
The Lady Cougars also dropped a 5-1 decision to Terry in their final Saturday contest.
Chaney will miss "at least 10 days" according to Fanning and might only see limited action when she returns. She was an all-state selection last season.
Newton County 3, Northwest Rankin 1: The Lady Cougars got a two-run double from April Bufkin in the sixth inning to break open a tie ball game and win a thriller in their tourney opener.
Bufkin also got the win on the hill, striking out five and tossing a two-hitter to improve to 14-0.
Stephanie Airhart and Dominique Mapp had Newton County's only other two hits.
Madison Central 4, Newton County 2: The highly-touted Lady Jaguars took a come-from-behind win with three runs in the top of the seventh inning to hand NCHS and Bufkin their first losses of the season.
Bufkin (14-1) struck out six and gave up six hits.
Newton County had only two hits in the contest, as Betsy Clark and Suzanne Chaney each had singles.
Terry 5, Newton County 1: The defending Class 4A champion Lady Bulldogs got revenge for an earlier loss to Newton County by scoring four times in the decisive fourth inning.
Both teams had six hits apiece, but Newton County had two errors for the second straight contest.
Kirby Shelby was the winning pitcher and also had two hits to lead Terry.
Airhart pounded a double and two singles for NCHS, while Suzanne Chaney, Joy Cavenaugh and Shelly Ferguson each had singles. Chaney (5-1) took the loss.
Rocky Higginbotham is the sports editor of The Meridian Star. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.