Rivers Gray (20) of Neshoba Central makes a diving catch to get the out against Lewisburg.
Rivers Gray (20) of Neshoba Central makes a diving catch to get the out against Lewisburg.
The Neshoba Central Lady Rockets overcame the weather and Lewisburg Saturday as they return to the Class 5A Fast-pitch Softball Championship Series for the sixth year in a row.

Junior pitcher Aspen Wesley pitched two no-hitters in the North State finals, beating Lewisburg 6-0 in the first game on Friday, and 3-0 in the second game on Saturday. The Lady Rockets improved to 32-0 as they claimed their sixth straight North State Class 5A championship.

Neshoba Central will be seeking their sixth straight Class 5A state championship when they play Pearl River Central in the Mississippi High School Activities Association’s fast-pitch championship series. This year, it will be played at Mississippi State’s softball facility. Game one will be held Thursday with game two set for Friday. A game three, if needed, would be played Saturday. Starting times for games one and two is 6:30 p.m.

“We took care of business,” Neshoba Central Coach Trae Embry said. “We played good defense and our pitching was outstanding. Now we are going to get ready to play Pearl River Central. They have an outstanding pitcher and we want to get adjusted to hit against her.”

This will be the first meeting between Neshoba Central and Pearl River Central. The Blue Devils come in with a 26-5 record according to Max Preps. They finished first in Region 7-5A and drew a first round bye in the playoffs. They eliminated West Jones, Brookhaven and North Pike. In the South State Class 5A finals, they beat North pike 5-4, 4-5 and 4-3 to advance.

“I have never seen them play but we will be finding out more about them this week,” Embry said. “Right now, we are focused on taking care of our business on Thursday. Right now, that is the most important game.”



Third round

The Lady Rockets started last week by sweeping Grenada in the third round of the state playoffs 10-0 and 8-1.

The series started in Grenada last Monday. The Lady Rockets scored one in the first, two in the second, one in the third, one in the fourth, two in the fifth and two in the sixth.

Wesley struck out 18 batters while pitching a no-hit shutout in the Lady Rockets 10-0 win.

The Lady Rockets pounded out 16 hits. Rivers Gray led at the plate as she hit a double and two singles. She scored two runs and knocked in three RBIs. Madalyn Thompson hit a double and a single while Tori Henderson, Sindle Williams, Elleigh Willis and Alex Bowen all had two hits. Makenzie Barnett hit a double.

In the second game which was played at Rockets field, Neshoba Central scored three in the first, one in the second, three in the third and one in the first on their way to an 8-1 win. Grenada scored one run in the fourth inning.

The Lady Rockets had an 11-4 hitting edge. Wesley was the winning pitcher with 12 strike outs. She helped her cause by going 4-for-4 at the plate.

Gray hit a double and two singles. She scored two runs and knocked in four RBIs. Henderson hit a double while Bowen and Williams both hit a single.



North State
champions

Next up for Neshoba Central was Lewisburg. The Lady Patriots had advanced to the North State finals by defeating Germantown 10-0, 3-2, in the third round.

The Lady Rockets opened their quest for a North State championship on the road with a 6-0 win over Lewisburg. Neshoba Central scored one in the fourth and five in the fifth.

Wesley again dominated on the pitcher’s mound and at the plate. She threw a no-hitter with 11 strikeouts. With the bat, she hit a home run and a single while knocking in three runs.

Neshoba Central finished with seven hits. Tori Henderson hit a home run and a double. She scored two runs and knocked in a run. Grisham and Williams both hit a single.

Rain delayed the start of the second game. But that was no problem. The Lady Rockets field was covered with a tarp and when the rain went away, it was time to play ball.

Again Wesley pitched a no-hitter in a 3-0 win. Neshoba Central scored one in the first, one in the third and one in the fifth.

Wesley struck out 13 batters.

The Lady Rockets finished with six hits. Gray and Henderson both hit a double and a single while Barnett and Elleigh Willis both hit a single.