SENATOBIA – While the district championship for the Houston Lady Toppers was a nice achievement, their ultimate goal is still ahead of them, and the road to the state championship began on Tuesday as they traveled to Senatobia to face the Lady Warriors.
Thanks to some keys hits late in the game and solid defense in the final innings, the Lady Toppers defeated the Lady Warriors 6-2 to take game one.
Houston got off to a solid start in the top of the first. After being walked to lead off the game, Aquana Brownlee was brought in on a sacrifice fly by Jordyn Moore.
The Lady Toppers held a one run lead after one-half of an inning.
In the bottom of the first, the Lady Warriors took the lead after scoring two runs after a few errors by Houston, and they held the 2-1 advantage for the next two innings.
But in the fourth, the Lady Toppers fought back and retook the lead.
After Georgia McMullen and Jaleah Jones both reached base on hits, McKayla Crowley smoked a two RBI double to score McMullen and Jones to give the Lady Toppers the lead.
And after a solid defensive play by Jordyn Moore at second to get out of the inning, the Lady Toppers led 3-2 after four innings.
In the sixth inning, the Lady Toppers added another run to extend the lead. After Jordyn Moore reached first after an error, Jaleah Jones hammered a triple done the right field line to score Moore.
With the lead extended, the Lady Toppers defense needed to hold the lead, and with an impressive play at shortstop by Aquana Brownlee, Houston held a 4-2 lead after six innings complete.
In the final inning the Lady Toppers added two more runs after Paige Kilgore bunted which resulted in two RBIs after bringing in Heather Blakely, who pinch ran for Autumn Doss, and Aquana Brownlee.
After extending the lead once more, the Lady Toppers needed three more outs to seal the victory. And after two quick outs, Paige Kilgore caught a line drive for the out and the win. The Lady Toppers were victorious 6-2.
“I think early we put a little pressure on ourselves,” Houston coach Derick Kirby said after the win. “Once we got the lead back, we kind of settled in.”
Kirby added that early in the game, his team couldn’t seem to get bunts down and advance runners, but in the late innnings, when it mattered, his team came through.
“That ended up being the ballgame,” Kirby said in regards to the successful bunts.
Kirby said that the win was “pure team” and everyone had an important role to play, and they played it.
Kirby was also very complimentary of his young players Autumn Doss, Michael Ann Chandler and Heather Blakely saying that “that youth…they’re coming through right now.”
With one more win needed to advance, Kirby said that his message is to go in and not give the Lady Warriors any hope and end the series quickly.
“We’re trying to do this thing in two games, not three,” Kirby said. “We’re looking to get this thing over with and never let them believe again that they can beat us.”
HOUSTON – The Lady Hilltoppers found themselves down early but never quit as they scored four runs in the bottom of the final inning to take Senatobia in in Thursday’s Second Round 4A playoffs.
The win sent Houston on to play Koscuisko in the third round on Monday.
The Lady Hilltoppers let Senatobia get ahead with a 3-run first inning. Houston scored in the bottom of the first frame but let the Warriors score another run in the fifth.
And things looked bleak as Houston trailed 4-1.
But Georgia McMullen and Aquana Brownlee got two hits in the game and Ty Cook, Jaleah Jones, Michael Ann Chandler, Jordyn Moore, McKayla Crowley and Autum Doss each notched a hit to lead Houston at the plate.
Jones, Moore, Crowley, McMullen and Doss were each credited with an RBI as the Lady Hilltoppers battled back.
The Mississippi High School Activities Association has the Lady Hilltoppers at 14-6 on the year and Koscuisko is 22-6 on the season.