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NMO wins state title

By Staff
TURNING TWO Woolmarket Slammer's Jordan Adams attempts to turn a double play after applying the tag to North Meridian Optimist's Kylie Rowell. Photo by Paula Merritt/The Meridian Star
By Rocky Higginbotham/The Meridian Star
July 9, 2001
The 30-team, double-elimination ASA 10-under state tournament at Northeast Park took three days to complete.
But when all the dust settled on the Junior Olympic Amateur Softball Association event Sunday, it came down to a best-of-three series between North Meridian Optimist and the Woolmarket Slammers.
NMO, after losing a 10-9 heartbreaker that forced an if-necessary game, came through with a solid 10-2 win over Woolmarket in the championship game to claim the state title. North Meridian had also beaten Woolmarket 13-5 in the winners' bracket final Sunday morning.
The top three teams from the event NMO, Woolmarket and the Little Bruisers from Philadelphia have automatically qualified for the ASA national 10-under tourney slated for Gadsden, Ala., in August.
In Sunday's title game, NMO broke a 1-1 tie with three runs in the top of the fourth and never trailed again.
J'Quandra Hickman's single and Mindi Turnipseed's triple started the fourth-inning rally, and NMO followed that up with five runs in the top of the fifth to take control.
Turnipseed finished 2-for-4 with a triple and two runs scored and Lainie Simcox had two hits and one run to lead NMO.
Hickman and Sarah Beckman each had one hit and two runs scored, Kylie Rowell singled and scored and Shelley Odom had a triple.
Katie Ward, Kandis O'Neal and Ashley Hornby all had two hits for the Woolmarket Slammers, who are from the Biloxi/Gulfport area of the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
In the first title game, the Slammers scored eight times in the bottom of the fourth inning to erase a seven-run deficit and force the if-necessary contest.
North Meridian scored three times in the first and got five in the third to go up 8-1, but Jordan Adams hit a grand slam to cap the Woolmarket rally in the fourth putting the Slammers up 10-9.
Adams finished 3-for-3 with the grand slam, a walk, two singles and two runs scored.
Simcox tripled, singled and scored twice for NMO, while Rowell had two hits and Turnipseed a double and one run.
In other Sunday and late Saturday games:
Woolmarket broke a 4-4 tie with back-to-back singles from Ward and Bethany Russell in the bottom of the sixth for a 5-4 win that eliminated the Little Bruisers.
Russell finished 2-for-3 with a double for the Slammers, while Sarah Breland was 3-for-3 and Fallon Mattar 2-for-3 for the Little Bruisers.
In the winners' bracket final, North Meridian scored in every inning but the first of a 13-5 win over Woolmarket.
Odom was 4-for-5 with three runs scored and Turnipseed went 3-for-4 to lead NMO. O'Neal was 2-for-2 with two singles, a walk and a run for Woolmarket.
The Little Bruisers jumped to an 8-0 lead after five innings and held on for a 9-8 win that eliminated Lawrence County.
Booneville let an eight-run lead get away in a 14-13 loss to Lawrence County.
The Little Bruisers eliminated Seminary 10-4; Booneville eliminated the Diamond Girls 10-7; Seminary eliminated Southern Sportsmen 16-7; and Woolmarket knocked off Lawrence County 9-8.
Rocky Higginbotham is a sports writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail him at rhigginbotham@themeridianstar.com.