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Lady Cougars sweep Poplarville

MONTICELLO-The Lawrence County Lady Cougars swept the Poplarville Lady Hornets in two straight games, winning a best-of-three series in 4A slowpitch softball playoff action Tuesday night. In the opening game, LCHS scored 3 runs in the bottom of the ninth, to snatch a 6-5 victory from the jaws of defeat. Game Two didn’t go into extra innings, but was just as competitive and exciting, as the Lady Cougars held on for a 7-5 victory.

With those wins, Meleah Howard’s girls improved to 22-3-1 on the season, and advanced to Saturday’s second round. On Saturday, the Lady Cougars will travel to West Lauderdale for a best-of-three series. Game times for Saturday were not set at press time. West Lauderdale easily handled Florence on Tuesday.

“We’re thrilled to be advancing to the second round,” said Howard, a Bogue Chitto native who is in her second year at LCHS. “We didn’t play two perfect games tonight, but our girls competed so hard. So did Poplarville. It was a very entertaining pair of games for our fans. We had tremendous support tonight.”

In the first game, Lawrence County carried a 3-1 lead into the top of the seventh, but Poplarville scored 2 runs to tie the game, and send it into extra innings. Things looked bleak for the Lady Cougars when Poplarville plated 2 more in the top of the ninth.

In the bottom of the ninth, however, the Lady Cougars battled back. Madison Hyde led off with a single. After Jazmin Thomas was retired, Jamie Martin drew a walk. Alexsundria Thomas’ booming double to left center scored Hyde, and left the potential tying and winning runs on second and third. After an intentional walk to Cierra Horton, Lexie Johnson plated the tying and winning runs with a line drive single to right center.

“That was a tremendous comeback, a tremendous win,” said Coach Howard, “but we had to refocus quickly, because we still had to win another game. You could tell that Poplarville wasn’t the type team that was going to go away because of a heartbreaking loss. They were going to compete to the bitter end, and they did.”

Hyde, Jazmin Thomas, and Elizabeth Smith led Lawrence County with 3 hits each in game 1. Alyssa Pendergrass, Alexsundria Thomas, Horton, and Johnson each had 2 hits. Shortstop Tristan Wheat and third baseman Camryn Pierce each had 4 hits for Poplarville.

In game 2, LCHS, the visiting team, took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first. Poplarville tied it with 2 runs in the bottom of the second, then took a 4-2 lead on a 2-run homer by catcher Kaley Lambert in the bottom of the third.

Lawrence County got 2 in the fourth, and 2 in the fifth, to grab a 6-4 lead. Poplarville scored an unearned run in the bottom of the fifth to cut the Lady Cougars’ lead to 6-5, but LCHS got an important insurance run in the top of the seventh.

Poplarville got the tying run to the plate in the bottom of the seventh, but the power-hitting Tristan Wheat flied out to Lexie Johnson in very deep right-center, to end the game.

Jazmin Thomas and Jamie Martin each had 3 hits for the Lady Cougars. Elizabeth Smith and Alexsundria Thomas each got 2. Wheat, Lambert, and Madison Nodruft each had 2 hits for the Lady Hornets.