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Fast-pitch powers set for showdown

By By Rocky Higginbotham/The Meridian Star
April 19, 2001
Newton County's Mack Fanning and Clarkdale's Rick Roberson figured their respective teams would have to go through one another for a shot at this year's 2001
MHSAA Class 3A/2A/1A state championship.
But they didn't figure on having to do it so often.
Newton County and Clarkdale who played a pair of contests on back-to-back days last week because of earlier rainouts tangle today for the 3A/2A/1A Region 3 championship, and for the right to move on to Saturday's South State finals.
Today's best-of-three series at Clarkdale is set to begin at 4 p.m.
Newton County, the defending state champ, enters today's series with a 32-2 mark after disposing of St. Aloysius easily Tuesday in first-round playoff action. Clarkdale, which coasted past 2000 runnerup Franklin County Monday, is 28-8.
Two of the Lady Bulldogs' losses are to Newton County. Clarkdale squandered a 3-0 lead in a 7-3 win by the Lady Cougars in their first meeting, then dropped a 5-3 contest the next day.
Roberson's squad relies on freshman left-hander Emily Howard and the strong bats of JorD'an Orr, Lindsey Stamm, Megan Potate and Morgan Wright, among others.
Newton County looks to senior right-hander April Bufkin, who sports a 20-1 mark. Offensively, the injury-riddled Lady Cougars sport a balanced attack that includes Bufkin and Dominique Mapp, as well as sophomore catcher Kristin Chaney who saw her first action in nearly three weeks Tuesday.
The winner of today's series returns to action Saturday against either Poplarville or Pass Christian.
Rocky Higginbotham is the sports editor of The Meridian Star. E-mail him at rhigginbotham@themeridianstar.com.

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