Softball playoffs roundup: Wesson facing West Marion in 3A quarterfinals

Published 11:00 am Wednesday, May 1, 2024

At press time, only one area school has advanced in the MHSAA softball playoffs as the Wesson Cobras swept Seminary to make the upcoming 3A quarterfinals. West Lincoln and Puckett are playing the third game of their series after the paper goes to print, so be sure to check The Daily Leader website for updates. Here’s a look at how everyone fared in the postseason over the weekend.

Wesson walks through Seminary in second round

You didn’t have to be Nostradamus to know that Wesson (22-3) wouldn’t have much trouble in the opening two rounds of the MHSAA 3A playoffs. 

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The Cobras beat Kemper County in the first round and Seminary in the second round with four straight wins by a combined run total of 51-1.

And you didn’t have to gaze into a crystal ball to know that when Wesson reached the third round, they’d be facing a familiar foe in the West Marion Trojans (18-6-1).

The teams met last season in a series that went to three games and a deciding game that went to extra innings.

West Marion reached the 3A title game last season where they were swept by Booneville High.

Just as she did last season as a freshman, sophomore Gracie Odom leads the Trojans at the plate in 2024. The five highest batting averages on the team belong to sophomores for West Marion.

Also returning is sophomore pitcher Izzy Pittman for West Marion, who led the team in innings thrown last year and will again this season too.

Wesson will host game one of the series on Thursday at 6 p.m. The plan is then to play game two at West Marion on Friday at 6 p.m., weather permitting. If a third game is needed, Wesson will host that game at a time and date to be determined.

Wesson will go with senior ace Mallory Sanders in the circle. A Longwood University signee, Sanders struck out eight in game one against Seminary, an 11-0 victory for the Cobras. She followed that up by striking out nine in the series finale, a 9-1 win for Wesson.

The Cobra offense got some huge extra base hits in that sweep of Seminary. Eighth grader Madelyn Sanders homered twice in game one and drove in six runs. Junior Emileigh Woodson hit three doubles over the two games and sophomore Preslee Newman doubled as well.

Jefferson Davis County (12-4-1) or St. Patrick (18-12) will await the winner of the Wesson, West Marion series in the 3A semifinals. The other quarterfinal games on the north side of the bracket have Booneville (18-11-1) facing Mantachie (26-4) and Belmont (16-14) playing Kossuth (23-3).

Puckett squeezes past Loyd Star in 2A bracket

The Puckett Wolves (25-8) got a pair of one-run wins to eliminate Loyd Star (16-9-1) in a tightly contested 2A second round series.

In the opener on Friday in Lincoln County, Puckett went ahead 3-0 and survived a comeback attempt by the Hornets to hold on to a 3-2 victory.

Saturday followed a different script as the game was tied 2-2 after four complete and then tied again at 4-4 after five complete innings.

The Wolves got a leadoff single to start the bottom of the seventh and that would be the game winning run that scored later in the inning to give Puckett a 5-4 win in walk off style.

Coach John Smith and his Loyd Star team outhit Puckett 9-5, but four errors in the field proved to be too much for the Hornets to overcome on Saturday.

Senior shortstop Abby Burnette had a double at the plate and finished with two hits on Saturday. Burnette is signed to next play at Copiah-Lincoln CC.

Freshman Maddie Kate Britt had a double as well for Loyd Star and the Hornets got one RBI apiece from freshman Adi Holcomb and freshman Layla Burt.

Burt, who trails only Brooke Delaughter Keene in career strikeouts at Loyd Star, gave up five unearned runs on Saturday. Burt allowed five hits and struck out two.

Loyd Star returns virtually its entire roster next season as Smith will only lose three players to graduation.

Puckett moves on to play Clarkdale (20-9) in the 2A quarterfinals.

East Central eliminates Brookhaven High in 5A play

For a second-straight season, the East Central Hornets eliminated Brookhaven High in the opening round of the 5A softball playoffs. The Hornets from Hurley beat the Panthers 12-1 on Friday and then closed the series out in Brookhaven on Saturday with a 16-0 win.

BHS and coach Mandy Vinson finished the season with a 15-14 record. The Panthers finished fourth in Region 3-5A behind Florence (20-8), North Pike (12-14), and South Jones (17-12).

Florence swept Stone High in their first-round matchup, North Pike and Wayne County were tied at press time one game apiece in their first-round pairing as were South Jones and Vancleave in their playoff series.

East Central will play either North Pike or Wayne County in the second round while Florence awaits the winner of the Vancleave and South Jones series.

Vinson has just four seniors on her roster in infielder Savannah Ledet, outfielder Vivi Claire Porter, infielder Jenna Fuller, and outfielder Gabriella Cameron.

The Panthers were held hitless on Saturday but were led at the plate in game one by sophomore Journi Hunt with a pair of hits. Sophomore Jayonna Pendleton also hit safely in game one for BHS.