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Lawrence Co. girls claim South 4A title

MONTICELLO – For nearly four hours, the South State 4A slowpitchsoftball championship series between division champions LawrenceCounty (6-4A) and Quitman (5-4A) battled toe-to-toe. Outstandingdefensive plays fostered a split in the first 2 games.

An offensive explosion by the Lady Cougars, in the sixth inningof the third and decisive game propelled LCHS to a 9-5 win over theLady Panthers, thus claiming the South State 4A title.

Lawrence County opened with a 4-2 win in Game 1. Quitmangarnered a 3-2 victory in the second game.

With the win, Lawrence County improves to 25-8 and advances tothe Class 4A State Championship series. Action gets under waySaturday at the V.A. Fields in Jackson. The Lady Cougars take onNorth 4A champion New Hope, which swept Pontotoc, winning 12-11 and14-4.

The best-of-three series starts at 11 a.m. Saturday.

Bridgee Williams (2-1) of Lawrence County and Alison Herring(1-2) of Quitman were the pitchers of record in the Southfinals.

Lawrence Co. 4, Quitman 2

The Lady Cougars (24-6) could not muster any consistent offenseagainst the Lady Panthers. LCHS would strand 22 base runners in the3-game series.

‘We left entirely too many runners on base,” said Lady Cougarhead coach Jill Haney. “We have to take advantage of thoseopportunities.”

Quitman, coached by Kacie Luebbers, took a 1-0 lead in thefirst. Stormy Lewis reached on an error and later scored on asecond LCHS miscue in the inning

Lawrence Co scored 4 runs in the third to take its first lead at4-1. Natalie Herrington, Kristen Sauls, Williams and Tyra Griffincrossed home plate. A sacrifice fly by Shaina Starks and a singleby DeeDee Walker plated 2 runs.

The Lady Panthers cut their deficit to a run in the fourth, butwould come no closer. Brooke Dew had 2 singles for Quitman.

Sauls led the Lady Cougars with a double and a run scored.Walker singled twice.

Quitman 3, Lawrence Co. 2

Quitman, the designated home team in Game 2, scored twice in thebottom of the first. Lewis and Davis scored off of a RBI single byBrooke Dew and a sacrifice fly by Shannon Mosley.

Lawrence Co. (24-7) realized a 2-2 deadlock in the fourth.Harris and Walker reached on consecutive singles. Herrington’s basehit scored Harris. Sauls’ sacrifice fly brought Walker home.

In the bottom of the eighth, Davis tripled for the LadyPanthers. Dew and Johnson were both intentionally walked to loadthe bases. Herring singled to drive home Davis with thegame-winner.

Lawrence Co. 9, Quitman 5

With LCHS (25-8) trailing 5-1 in the fourth, the Lady Cougarbats went to work. A 3-run rally was highlighted by 5 consecutivesingles to open the bottom of the fourth. Herrington, Sauls,Williams, Starks and Sage Mabile reached base safely. Herrington,Sauls and Williams scored to trail by a run at 5-4.

After a scoreless fifth, Haney’s crew continued their torridhitting. Williams, Starks, Mabile, Griffin and Allie Harris eachhit a single and scored a run.

“These girls have matured a lot since August, when the seasongot started,” Coach Haney commented. “They never quit on eachother. I am proud of them.”

The Lady Cougars defense proved to be the difference in thegame. Kate Davis and her LCHS teammates kept Quitman at bay to moveto the state championship series.

“Our defense stepped up tonight,” said Coach Haney.