LC Lady Cougars eliminate Poplarville

Published 11:00 am Friday, May 2, 2014

POPLARVILLE-The Lawrence County Lady Cougars defeated Poplarville 8-6 on Wednesday, claiming their best-of-three playoff series in two straight games. Lawrence County tied the game with three runs in the top of the sixth, then won it with 2 more in the seventh.

With the win, the Lady Cougars improved to 24-4 on the season. LCHS defeated Quitman in three games in the first round of the playoffs. The Lady Cougars will travel to Northeast Lauderdale today in the opening game of another best-of-three series. On Saturday, the teams will meet at LCHS for Game 2. Game time is 1 o’clock. Game 3, if necessary, will follow shortly thereafter.

“We’re excited to be where we are,” said Lawrence County coach Mark Howard, who has taken the helm of the Lady Cougars while his wife, Meleah, is on maternity leave. “Judging by the records, we were probably the underdog against Poplarville, but our girls came through and got it done.

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“We know we’ve got our work cut out for us against Northeast Lauderdale, but we expect to play well and give ourselves a chance.”

The Lady Cougars had to dig deep at Poplarville. Alyssa Pendergrass and Alexsundria Thomas had first-inning singles to give LCHS a 1-0 lead. Two Lawrence County errors helped Poplarville tie it at 1-1 in the bottom of the second.

Jamie Martin, Tiera Collins and Madison Hyde had singles as the Lady Cougars scored 2 in the third, taking a 3-1 lead. But Poplarville scored three runs in the bottom of the inning, then added single runs in the fourth and fifth to seemingly take control of the game.

Trailing 6-3 entering the top of the sixth, the Lady Cougars loaded the bases with none out as Pendergrass and Callie Fortenberry singled, and Alexsundria Thomas drew a walk. A Poplarville error, a hit batsman, and a Collins sacrifice fly knotted the game at 6-6.

After Lady Cougar pitcher Elizabeth Smith thwarted a Poplarville rally in the bottom of the sixth, LCHS pushed the winning runs across in the seventh. With two out, Alexsundria Thomas blasted a triple to the wall in right center, driving home the lead run. The Lady Cougars added some insurance when first baseman Jazmin Thomas singled home her sister. That made it an 8-6 game.

There was no drama in the bottom of the seventh. Smith ended Poplarville’s banner season with a fly ball to center, a bouncer back to Smith, and a pop-up to second base. The Lady Hornets ended the season with a record of 22-3. Lawrence County also eliminated Poplarville from the slow-pitch playoffs back in the fall.

Smith was rock-solid for Lawrence County. She gave up 8 hits and struck out four. Smith’s strike-throwing ability was key as she handed out only 1 base on balls.

Offensively, Pendergrass paced LCHS with three hits. Jamie Martin and Alexsundria Thomas each had two hits. Jazmin Thomas, Fortenberry, Hyde, and Collins each had one hit.