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New Hope sweeps way past Northeast Lauderdale

By By Rocky Higginbotham / special to The Star
Nov. 1, 2002
JACKSON There's no doubt Northeast Lauderdale's slow-pitch softball team was a heavy underdog to top-ranked New Hope in the Class 4A state championship series here Thursday at the V.A. Fields.
But, as has happened so many times in the past, things can turn around quickly if the underdog can grab the momentum. And that's what Northeast tried its best to do in Game 1.
The Lady Trojans let a lead slip away and fell 6-3 to New Hope in the opener, then got run-ruled 12-2 in Game 2 as the top-ranked Lady Trojans from Lowndes County won their third straight Class 4A title.
Northeast actually out-hit New Hope 14-13 in Game 1, but the Lady Trojans left 13 runners on base.
In the opener, Northeast trailed 1-0 before scoring three times in the bottom of the third.
Capri Norris and Shelly Odom started the third-inning rally with back-to-back hits, and Lauren Webb had a one-out hit that loaded the bases. Raleigh Odom followed with a two-run single, then Amber Gray with an RBI hit to make it 3-1.
New Hope got one run back in the top of the fourth, then scored four times in the fifth to go ahead for good.
Courtney Gordon and Rachel Baucom had RBI doubles in the fifth-inning rally for New Hope.
Gordon finished with two hits, while winning pitcher Ginny Lowery was 3-for-3 to lead the Lady Trojans. Tori Harris and Laura Lee Holman both had a pair of hits as well.
New Hope, which improved to 33-2, left nine runners on, as well.
For Northeast, Danielle McCoy went 3-for-4, while Webb and Raleigh Odom both had a pair of hits.
In the second contest, Northeast again got out to a quick start.
After one was out in the first inning, Webb singled and Raleigh Odom followed with an RBI double. Amber Gray then singled and Jayme Gardner had an RBI single, putting NEL up 2-0.
Unfortunately for Harper's bunch, that was where the offense stopped.
Northeast had just six hits in the second game, with McCoy getting a single and Jana Olczak a double to go with the four hits in the first inning.
New Hope, meanwhile, got an RBI double from Harris to spark a three-run rally in the bottom of the first. Then, the Lady Trojans scored six times in the bottom of the second to break the game open.
Back-to-back doubles by Baucom and Shakima Nicholson sparked that rally, which included six hits.
Ashley Bush was 2-for-2 for New Hope, which had 14 hits in just four at-bats of the rout-shortened game. Holman and Gordon were both 2-for-3 with two runs scored.