If you were one of the people who counted Amory out of the playoff picture after their 0-2 start to Division 1-4A play, they're halfway towards proving you wrong.

After their loss at Pontotoc, I had plenty of people ask me if I thought the Panthers were out of it, and my answer was simple: “Not yet. Beat Shannon and Tishomingo County and have Pontotoc beat both as well, and you're back in business.”

Two out of those four things were accomplished on Friday — the monkey off their backs with a win over Shannon to snap a six-game losing streak and Pontotoc's win over Tish as well.

Amory coach Ben Ashley credited a couple of different things in the win — among them a never-say-die attitude in his team, despite all the obstacles that have been thrown their way this season.

That attitude paid off on Friday in what wasn't the prettiest win — what 7-3 game is? — but the job got done. One of the most positives I saw from Friday too was that there wasn't much celebration after the win — instead the Panthers realize that the task is only half over and attention turned to trying to finish it out this Friday against Tish County.

The playoff picture is still up in the air for the other five teams in the county as well. With their loss at Louisville last week, Aberdeen is still in the driver's seat for the No. 2 spot in 4-3A and a home playoff game in two weeks, while Nettleton is still searching for its second win to secure its spot in that same division.

With a lone division loss each, things are still up in the air for Smithville and Hamilton in a crazy Division 1-1A. The two are technically tied for second place, while division unbeatens Coffeeville and Falkner are tied for first.

Hatley, with its back against the wall too, sits at 0-3 in 1-2A but could still make the postseason by winning its final two games against New Site and East Union.

Softball teams still vying for Jackson

Inside, you'll find stories on how each four Monroe County playoff teams reached the North state finals, but due to the Monroe Journal's early morning Tuesday deadline, as our paper goes to print, we still won't know who punched their tickets to Jackson.

With Smithville and Hamilton facing off again in Class 1A, Monroe County is guaranteed a North champ there and could have as many as three teams in Jackson on Saturday. Next week's Monroe Journal will have the wrapup from this Tuesday's North finals in addition to plenty of state championship coverage from Saturday.

Melissa Meador is the Sports Editor of the Monroe Journal. Contact her at melissa.meador@journalinc.com or follow her on Twitter: @MelissaMeador14.

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