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North Meridian unbeaten in tourney

By Staff
July 8, 2001
By Rocky Higginbotham/The Meridian Star
Although there are much bigger goals now in mind, the North Meridian Optimist 10-under girls' softball team regardless of what happens today can finish no worse than third in this weekend's Junior Olympic Amateur Softball Association State Tournament.
NMO has blown to four straight victories thus far in the tournament at Northeast Park, including a 10-7 win over the Little Bruisers of Philadelphia late Saturday night that put North Meridian in the winners' bracket final.
Eight squads were still alive in the 30-team, double-elimination event at press time, and six will still be alive when action begins today at 10 a.m. A worship service is set for 9 a.m. at Northeast Park; the championship game is scheduled for 2:30; and the if-necessary game would follow at 4 p.m.
NMO had not been challenged until meeting the Little Bruisers in a winners' bracket semifinal, as North Meridian broke a 2-2 tie with three runs in the fourth before pushing across five more in the fifth.
J'Quandra Hickman was 2-for-2 with an RBI single in the first inning and a walk that started the three-run rally in the fifth, and Sarah Beckman had a triple for NMO.
North Meridian also had wins over the Lil' Hounds (10-1) and Avent Vinyl Siding (11-4) Saturday. Shelley Odom had three hits against the Lil' Hounds from Ocean Springs, while Kylie Rowell had three base knocks in the win over Avent of Ackerman.
NMO and the Little Bruisers were joined by Southern Sportsmen of Quitman and the Diamond Girls as area teams still alive late Saturday night. Both of those squads had won four straight elimination games.
Here's a brief look at the other action completed before press time Saturday night:
The Diamond Girls got a 4-for-4 performance from Chelsea Pugh in an 11-2 win over the Lil' Hounds;
Britney Cochran and Cali Underwood each had three hits for the Diamond Girls in a 12-2 win over the Grenada Shockers;
Beth Page was 3-for-3 with a triple, double and single in West Lauderdale's 10-9 win over Amory;
Shajuan Buckley had four hits for East Biloxi in a 13-7 win over Wilk-Amite;
The Picayune Pride got four hits from Torre Hornberger in a 16-4 win over West Lauderdale;
Seminary scratched out a run in the bottom of the seventh to eliminate Picayune 8-7;
Lesli Barham had three hits for Seminary in an 8-5 win over Long Beach;
Lawrence County belted Picayune 33-5 behind four hits apiece from Shania Starks and Kate Davis;
Southern Style scored seven runs in the first inning and held off Avent 12-11;
K.C. Buckley had a pair of triples for the Diamond Girls in a 14-1 win over Houston;
Sooby Cooks hit two home runs in a 9-8 win for Southern Sportsmen over the Columbus Lady Trojans;
Amber Lewis had three hits and five RBIs for Southern Sportsmen in a 9-4 win over Southern Style;
The Woolmarket Slammers stayed unbeaten for the tourney with a 10-4 win over the Columbus Lady Trojans;
Southern Sportsmen run-ruled the Columbus Feds 13-3;
Sarah Hodges homered and had three hits in a 14-3 win over Magee;
And, in other results: The Columbus Feds blanked Perry County 18-0; the Grenada Shockers beat the Lady Warriors 17-4; the Lady Trojans beat Houston 14-4; Picayune edged Grenada 14-11; the Lil' Hounds beat Southern Sportsmen 8-6; Lawrence County drilled the Bayou View Slammers 23-4; the Diamond Girls edged New Albany 14-12; Southern Style beat the Young Sales Bulldogs 22-3; Bayou View beat New Albany 8-7; Woolmarket topped Amory 13-3; Booneville rolled past Seminary 21-1; Woolmarket run-ruled Magee 17-6; Bayou View beat Biloxi 12-2; Houston edged Biloxi 16-12; the Little Bruisers beat Long Beach 13-6; Seminary beat East Biloxi 16-8; the Little Bruisers beat Booneville 9-8; Bayou View topped West Lauderdale 15-14; and Booneville eliminated Bayou View 12-8.
Rocky Higginbotham is a sports writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail him at rhigginbotham@themeridianstar.com.