Sanders strikes out 12 as Wesson earns win over Warren Central
Published 2:00 pm Wednesday, March 22, 2023
The Wesson Cobras came into the season as the prohibitive favorites in the Region 7-3A softball race.
The region is made up of Wesson, Franklin County, Hazlehurst, Tylertown and Port Gibson.
Last season the Cobras went 8-0 in division play and outscored their competition by a combined total run differential of 112-5.
With that said, nights like Monday are important for Wesson head coach Michelle Nunnery and her team as they hosted a solid Warren Central squad for a non-region test against the 6A Vikings (6-8).
Junior pitcher Mallory Sanders shut down Warren Central at the plate and the Cobras got offense when they needed it for a 5-0 win. The victory avenged a 3-0 loss to Warren Central two weeks ago and moved the Cobras to 5-5 on the season.
“I don’t always schedule a game for the Monday after Spring Break,” said Nunnery. “It is important though for us to come out and face quality opponents when we can because we know it’s going to only make us better.”
Warren Central played in the annual tournament hosted by Brookhaven High on Saturday and went 0-2 with losses to West Lincoln (2-0) and Loyd Star (9-0).
Wesson had not played since suffering a 15-7 loss to Lawrence County on March 10. On March 9, the Cobras got region play started with a 21-1 shelling of Franklin County.
The 2022 version of Wesson softball beat Magee in the second round of the 3A playoffs after earning a first round bye. Enterprise-Clarke then eliminated the Cobras in the quarterfinals with two straight wins.
There are just three seniors on the roster as Wesson still a very young team in many positions. The senior class includes Marley Channell, Emma Thaxton and Lexie Freeman.
Sanders struck out 12 in earning the win. She scattered four hits and issued just two walks on 109 pitches. She struck out 11 the first time WC and Wesson met, but the Vikings drew 10 walks in that game. Her season high in strikeouts is 13, which came against Salem in an 11-1 win on March. 3.
Wesson scored one run in the bottom of the first inning, two runs in the bottom of the second and two runs in the bottom of the fifth to steadily increase their lead.
Junior catcher Julianna Wilson was a catalyst at the plate for Wesson as she went 3-for-3 with two RBIs.
Wilson missed some time early in the season with an injury and her return to regular duty has been a bump for the entire team.
“Julianna and Mallory have a great relationship as a catcher and pitcher and that connection is a big part of the game that Mallory threw tonight,” said Nunnery. “It feels like this group is starting to figure out what it takes to win close games and I was proud to see them get that done tonight.”
The biggest threat of the night by Warren Central came in the top of the fifth inning and with Wesson leading 3-0.
The Vikings started a two-out rally that put runners at first and third base.
The inning ended on a groundout by Jennifer Smith of Warren Central. Smith hit a ball to second baseman Kenslie Carter and her throw got to first-baseman Mary Gwen Hynum just ahead of Smith touching the bag.
Channell had two hits and an RBI at the plate for Wesson. Second baseman Macy Loy and right fielder Jaide Shoop also hit safely for the Cobras in the win.
WC has a local connection as senior catcher Lola Crozier is the daughter of Brookhaven native Billy Crozier. Lola Crozier was unavailable on Monday after taking a foul ball to the head on Saturday at the Ole Brook Tournament.
Sophomore Zion Harvey led Warren Central with a pair of base hits in the loss.