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NEL earns another shot at New Hope for 4A state title

By Staff
OUT! – Northeast Lauderdale's Amber Gray makes the stretch at first to put out Brookhaven's Courtney Fielder. Photo by Paula Merritt/The Meridian Star
By Ryan Satcher / staff writer
Oct. 23, 2002
For the second straight playoff series, the Lady Trojans of Northeast Lauderdale had to play three games. For the second straight series Northeast picked up the win to move on and for the second straight year the Lady Trojans will compete for the 4A State Championship.
Northeast defeated Brookhaven 9-1 in the first game and then fell 9-1 in the second game. The Lady Trojans came through with an 11-4 victory in the third game to win the South State Championship at Northeast Park on Tuesday night.
Northeast will meet New Hope, 32-2, in a rematch of last year's 4A finals which New Hope swept, Saturday at the VA Fields in Jackson.
The Lady Trojans move to 28-8 on the year with the two wins.
Northeast 11
Brookhaven 4
Northeast scored four runs in the second and five runs in the bottom of the fourth inning to take the final game of the series.
Brookhaven struck first in the top of the first inning. Chuvaquah Smith singled with one out in the inning. JaRonda Moore also ripped a single and Samantha Boutwell hit a single off the wall in left to load the bases. Ashley Sykes brought in Smith with a single, but the Lady Trojans came through with a double play to end the inning before Brookhaven could come up with another run.
Northeast came back in the bottom of the first with two runs. Jana Olczak singled and Lauren Webb doubled. Amber Gray brought in Olczak with a ground out. The Lady Trojans then caught a break as Brookhaven made an error to allow the Northeast to take a 2-1 lead.
The Lady Trojans scored four runs in the second to expand the lead. Capri Norris and Kara Hull singled to start the inning. After a groundout moved the runners up, Olczak brought in a run with a sacrifice fly. Webb walked and Raleigh Odom blasted a three-run homer over the fence in left to make the score 6-1.
The Lady Panthers struck back for a run in the third. Megan Bateman singled and scored when Moore singled and the Lady Trojans made an error on the play.
Northeast put the game away in the fourth inning. Norris reached on an error and Hull singled. After another error loaded the bases, Olczak walked to bring in a run. Webb singled to bring in another to make the score 8-1. After a sacrifice fly by Odom brought in a run, Gray ripped a line drive that was caught by the second baseman. The fielder threw the ball trying to double-up the runner at first, but hit the runner to allow Olczak to come around and score. Webb later scored when Jayme Gardner's fly ball was dropped.
Brookhaven cut the lead to 11-4 in the sixth with two runs. Bateman reached base when her line drive was dropped. Chuvaquah Smith singled and Northeast made an error to allow Bateman to score. Smith later scored on another Northeast error.
Northeast shut down the Lady Panthers in the seventh inning to take the win and the South State Championship.
Northeast 9
Brookhaven 1
The Lady Trojans came ready to play in the first game and took a 1-0 lead in the series.
The Lady Panthers took an early lead in the top of the first. Bateman and Chuvaquah Smith both singled to start the game. Bateman later scored on a fielder's choice by Moore. A double play got Northeast out of the inning.
Gardner singled in Olczak and Webb in the bottom of the first to give Northeast the lead.
The Lady Trojans scored three runs in the second. Olczak brought in Norris with a sacrifice fly. Webb and Odom each had an RBI single to bring in the other two runs.
Hull brought in two runs with a single in the fifth inning to stretch the Northeast lead to 7-1.
The Lady Trojans put Brookhaven away with two runs in the sixth inning. Gray brought in a run with a single and another run scored on an error to give Northeast a 9-1 victory.
Brookhaven 9
Northeast 1
Brookhaven had its back against the wall, but came out swinging in the second game of the series.
The Lady Panthers scored a run in the third inning when Kayla Prince singled in Allyson Wallace to make the score 1-0.
Northeast answered with a run in the top of the fourth inning when Blair Rawson brought in Odom with a two-out single.
The Lady Panther took control of the game in the bottom of the fourth. Smith and Moore singled to start the inning. Smith scored on a fielder's choice by Boutwell. Sykes, Brittany Smith and Mandy Vinson put together three straight singles to make the score 3-1. Another run scored on a single by Wallace. The Lady Panthers finished off the five-run inning with a two-run single by Keasy Huff to make the score 6-1.
Brookhaven also added three runs in the fifth inning. Cortney Fielder singled and scored on a sacrifice fly by Chuvaquah Smith. Boutwell smashed a two-run homer to make the final score 9-1.