Lady Rockets battle past Saltillo, advance to North State
The Neshoba Central Lady Rockets rebounded from an opening series loss to defeat Saltillo in games two and three and advance to the North State fast-pitch softball championship series.
Waiting for them will be long-time playoff rival New Hope which swept Vicksburg over the weekend to advance.
The eight-time defending state champion Lady Rockets were one game away from seeing their season come to an end when they dropped a 3-2 decision against Saltillo Friday night. They came back on Saturday to topple Saltillo 9-2. On Monday night, the Lady Rockets traveled to Saltillo where they eliminated the Lady Tigers 13-6.
“We came to play tonight,” said Coach Zach Sanders following Monday’s game. “We were up against a very good pitcher and a good team. We made some changes. After losing Friday, we seemed more focused and took the second game Saturday. We had 13 hits in the third game and batted well from the bottom of the order on up.”
As stated before, for most programs this would have been a rebuilding year but not for the Lady Rockets.
“When we started the year, we had three girls on the field who had played before. We have come a long way since we started practicing back in August,” Sanders said.
The Lady Rockets, 27-3, will be going for their ninth straight North State Class 5A championship and their 11th in school history this week. New Hope enters the series with a 15-11 record according to Max Preps.
“We are happy to be where we are,” Sanders said. “Right now, the only thing we are thinking about is winning the next game.”
Lady Rockets 2
Saltillo scored on a walk-off double in the bottom of the seventh inning to take the first game.
Neshoba Central had scored one run in the fifth inning when Lanayah Henry hit a home run to make the score 1-0. The Lady Tigers scored two in the bottom of the sixth to take the lead. Neshoba Central tied the game in the top of the seventh when Hama’ya Fielder knocked in a run to tie the game at 2-2. Then Lady Tigers scored to win the game.
Henry, a ninth grader, took the pitching loss. She struck out nine batters. She helped her cause at the plate with a home run and a double. Tenly Grisham had a hit.
Lady Rockets 9
Tenly Grisham and Dakota Williamson both hit home runs to pace the Lady Rockets past Saltillo in game two.
Neshoba Central scored four in the second, one in the fourth, one in the fifth, and three in the sixth. Saltillo scored one in the sixth and one in the seventh.
Henry was the winning pitcher as she struck out six batters. At the plate, she had two hits and knocked in a run.
Grisham hit a home run and a single. She scored one run and knocked in two more. Williamson hit a home run. Charmayne Morris hit a double, scored a run and knocked in another. Mya Willis and Mauhree Jones both hit a single, knocked in a run and score one. Miley Thomas had two hits, knocked in a run and scored one.
Lady Rockets 13
The Lady Rockets spread out 13 hits as they wrapped up the series with a win over Saltillo.
Neshoba Central scored one in the first, six in the third, two in the fifth, two in the sixth and two in the seventh. Saltillo scored one in the third, three in the fifth and two in the seventh.
Henry was the winning pitcher. She went six innings and struck out six batters. Mauhree Jones pitched one inning and had one strike out.
Grisham finished with a double and two singles. She scored three runs and knocked in another. Sa’Nya Jackson hit a double and a single. She scored two runs and knocked in three more. Morris hit a double. She scored two runs and knocked in another. Fielder had one hit, scored two runs and knocked in two more. Willis had one hit and knocked in two runs. Thomas had two hits, scored one run and knocked in two more. Henry hit a single.