Seven area teams
set to open play
By By Marty Stamper / EMG sports assistant
April 13, 2002
Seven area fast-pitch teams, including playoff veterans Newton County and Clarkdale and rookie Meridian, will be participating in the Mississippi High School Activities Association's state softball tournaments which get under way today.
Division champions will host the first two games of the best-of-three series with the third games, if necessary, to be played at the runner-up sites on Monday or Tuesday.
Seventh-ranked Newton County, 28-5, will host the Morton Lady Panthers, 10-14, at 4 p.m. in Class 3A in a rematch of an April 1 doubleheader in which the Lady Cougars crushed Morton 16-1 and 20-2.
Newton County reached the Class 1A/2A/3A South State finals last year, losing to Pass Christian in three games. With Class 3A being a separate classification this year, the Lady Cougars are the favorite in the South State, along with Amory and Caledonia in the North State.
Mack Fanning's Lady Cougars use four pitchers Joy Cavenaugh (8-1), Krissi Harris (6-3), Lauren Barrett (8-1), and Suzanne Chaney (5-0). Top hitters are Cavenaugh, Harris, third baseman Dominique Mapp, first baseman Betsy Clark, and shortstop Kristin Chaney.
Clarkdale, is also a perennial playoff participant. The Lady Bulldogs enter the playoffs with a 23-9-1 mark. Clarkdale will host Division 6-2A runner-up Mize in a pair of games beginning at 2 p.m.
Leading Rick Roberson's Lady Bulldogs are left-handed pitcher Emily Howard, pitcher/third baseman JorD'an Orr, first baseman Ashley Satcher, catcher/shortstop Megan Potate, and second baseman Brandi Wright.
Union, the Division 4-1A/2A champion, is another area team with playoff experience, having battled Clarkdale and Newton County in division play the last three years.
The Lady Jackets, 19-8, will host Division 3-1A/2A runner-up Houlka, 11-5, at 3 p.m. for a pair of games. Houlka lost twice to unbeaten Eupora, twice to Ripley, and once to Hamilton.
Top pitchers for Ricky Casey's Lady Jackets are Marley Smith (9-3) and Lindsey Cassel (6-4). Top hitters are Smith, Loren Kennedy, Lauren White, and LaSaundra Harrison.
Meridian is the newcomer on the block as the Lady Wildcats just began their program in February under the leadership of coach Susan Frazier. They finished second in the three-team Division 6-5A behind Brandon and ahead of Wayne County.
Meridian, 11-11, will travel to Division 5-5A champion Petal for first-round action beginning at noon.
Top performers for the Lady Wildcats are Erin Murphy (11-10) on the mound and Murphy, Artesian Boyd, and Stephanie Nelson at the plate.
Enterprise finished second to Clarkdale in Division 5-1A/2A and will travel to Vicksburg Monday to take on the 14-4 St. Aloysius Lady Flashes at 5 p.m. in a single game. St. Al won Division 6-1A/2A.
The series was changed due to several St. Aloysius players being out of town today.
Top performers for Joel Speed's 11-10 Lady Bulldogs are pitchers Charly Speed and Amanda Parker and senior center fielder Ashley Mathis.
The Lady Tornadoes of Philadelphia finished runner-up to Newton County in Division 5-3A. Philadelphia, 9-3, travels to Division 6-3A winner Richland, 7-6, for a 2 p.m. twinbill. The Lady Rangers won their league over Morton, Forest, and Raleigh.
Leading the Lady Tornadoes are pitcher Mandy Eakes (9-3), shortstop Jhaun Sparnecht, third baseman Susan Allen, outfielder Shenique Brass, Brittany Phillips, and Lindsey Bostick.
Nanih Waiya, 6-5, finished second in Division 4-1A/2A to Union and will travel to Eupora, 15-0, for a pair of games beginning at 1 p.m. The Lady Warriors are in their second year of fast-pitch.