The North Pontotoc Lady Vikings (17-12) returned to the 3A North Half championship series for the first time since 2014 this past weekend, but ran into a Mooreville team that has only lost four times in two years. The defending 3A champion Lady Troopers defeated North 9-3 on Friday and 6-5 on Saturday to punch their ticket to a return trip to the state title series.
Mooreville grabbed control of a tight game in the series opener at North Pontotoc on Friday, going to a 9-3 win.
“Defensively I thought we played decent,” said Lady Vikings head coach Cee Cee Austin. “We made a few costly errors that helped them in the box score, our pitcher (Cadie Beth Gates) pitched to the ground and put us in a position to win.”
Mooreville (27-3) opened the game by scoring a run in the 1st inning, but the Lady Vikings answered when Gracey Griggs singled to score Katelyn Matthews to tie it at 1-1. The Lady Troopers wouldn’t go away, as they would take the lead back and extend it to 4-1 off of a two-run home run by Meagan Edmonds. North would get it to within one run in the 3rd when Griggs came up with another big hit, driving in Matthews and Leah Jones with a two out double that cut the lead to 4-3. That would end up being all the offense the Lady Vikings could muster on the evening, as standout Mooreville pitcher Hallie Donald would put up four straight inning of zeros to finish out the game. The Lady Troopers grabbed all the momentum by plating three runs in the top of the 4th to go up 7-3, adding two more in the 7th.
Katelyn Matthews finished with a hit and scored two runs, Leah Jones finished with a hit and a run scored and Gracey Griggs had two hits and all three RBIs for the Lady Vikings. Cadi Beth Gates threw a complete game and struck out 4 on the evening.
In game two at Mooreville on Saturday the Lady Vikings held a lead for most of the game before the Lady Troopers rallied in the final inning to clinch the series.
After Mooreville scored in the bottom of the 1st to take a 1-0 lead, the Lady Vikings plated two in the 2nd to grab the advantage and added lone runs in the 3rd, 4th and 5th to go up 5-1. The Lady Troopers got back to within striking distance with two runs off a North error in the bottom of the 5th. Still down 5-3 in the bottom of the 7th,
Summer Cryder connected with a two-run double to even things up, going on to score the winning run on a pitch in the dirt.
Jones, Griggs, Grace Buchanan, Lindsey Coffey and Ava Merritt all finished with multiple hits in game two for the Lady Vikings.
Last Tuesday, the Lady Vikings had advanced to the "final four" Class 3A faspitch softball with a 3-2 win over Booneville in the second game of their series.