Lady Rockets capture North State title
The Neshoba Central Lady Rockets completed their sweep of Saltillo on Monday to win the North State championship and advance to the Class 5A state fast-pitch finals.
The Lady Rockets defeated the Lady Tigers 12-2 in game one played Saturday and 17-3 in game two.
Neshoba Central, now 30-0, will advance the Mississippi High School Activities Association’s Class 5A state championship game to take on East Central. The first game will be played at 4 p.m. at the University of Southern Mississippi softball field. Game two will be played Friday and a third game, if necessary, will be played Saturday.
The Lady Rockets are ranked No. 1 in the nation according to the USA Today poll.
Not counting the 2020 season which was canceled because of the COVID-19 Pandemic, the Lady Rockets will be playing for their eighth straight fast-pitch state championship and their 10th in program history. The Lady Rockets played East Central in the 2013 state finals, sweeping them 8-9, 18-5.
“We have a great group of young ladies,” Coach Zach Sanders said. “They have done what they needed to do to win. They work hard in practice and do what they need to do to be successful. “We go into every game expecting to win. We have had some close games this season but we have found ways to win them. They can turn it up when they need to.”
The Lady Rockets outhit Saltillo 15-3 in the first game. Neshoba Central scored two in the first, two in the second, one in the third, two in the fourth, three in the fifth and two in the sixth. Saltillo answered with one in the fourth and one in the fifth.
Elleigh Willis was the winning pitcher. She had five strike outs. Willis helped her cause at the plate as she hit a home run, a triple and a single. She knocked in three runs.
AnnaLeigh Jones hit a triple and a single and knocked in two runs. Tenly Grisham hit a triple and two singles, scored three runs and knocked in another. Charmayne Morris had a double and a single, scored two runs and knocked in two more.
Hama’ya Fielder hit a double and a single, scored a run and knocked in another. Shante Beaulieu had two hits, scored a run and knocked in another run.
The Lady Rockets used a big third inning to put away Saltillo in game two. Neshoba Central scored two in the second, seven in the third, two in the fourth and six in the fifth. Saltillo answered with one in the first and two in the fifth.
Mauhree Jones hit a grand slam homer and knocked in five runs. AnnaLeigh Jones hit a home run, a triple and a single. She had five RBIs. Grisham had a hit and scored three runs. Morris belted a hit, scored a run and knocked in another. Kylee Thompson had one hit and scored two runs.