Mooreville cruises to first-round win
By Kent Mohundro
MOOREVILLE - If Mooreville coach Rex Berryman is to get his girls softball team back to Jackson again this year, he'll do it with a young team filled with excitement.
The Lady Troopers improved to 27-9 Tuesday night and advanced to the second round of the Class 2A state playoffs with a sweep of the visiting Winona Tigers, winning 12-0 and 15-0.
"This group of girls plays as a team," said Berryman, who won state titles in 1998 and 1999. "It's a different group getting it done each night. Tonight we got good defense and our bats came alive."
Mooreville plays Saturday against the winner of the Coldwater-Hollandale Simmons series. A time and site has yet to be determined.
The Lady Troopers put the first game out of reach in the second inning, plating nine runs, including a grand slam home run over the center field fence by Kelly Hankins.
"I'm still in shock," Hankins told a friend between games.
In the decisive second inning, Mooreville sent 13 batters to the plate, nine of which came away with base hits. Four of the Lady Troopers' hits in the inning went for extra bases. Brandi Pierce collected two hits in the frame, including a lead-off double.
"We didn't get ourselves in trouble by making errors," Berryman said. "These young kids are just anxious to play."
Despite all the offensive and defensive exploits of the Lady Troopers in the two shutout wins, the most impressive number might have been eight - as in innings scored. Mooreville only had to go to bat nine times. In six of those innings, the Troopers put up multiple runs.
Berryman was happy with the play of his team. And why not, nearly everyone who played got a hit. Not only that, it seemed that no matter where the opposing Tigers hit the ball, there was a Lady Trooper there to snag it.
Nowhere was that more evident than at the hot corner. Third baseman Candy Shumpert, one of the younger players on the team, was credited with 10 assists. She single-handedly sat down the side in the third inning of the first game, throwing out two runners at first and retiring another on an infield fly.
And to think Shumpert wasn't even playing third base when the season started. She opened the season at first base.
"She's (Shumpert) comfortable out there (third base)," Berryman said. "But she wasn't even there a few weeks ago."
Mooreville pitcher Alisha Knox pitched a couple of gems, allowing only one Winona runner as far as third base late in the second contest - the result of a throwing error to first base.
"We had a scouting report on them (Winona) and theose are usually pretty reliable," Berryman said. "We had players in position making plays all night."
Mooreville won the first contest after four and a half innings due to the 12-run rule.
In the deciding second game, the Lady Troopers pounded out 21 hits and took an early 4-0 lead in the first inning.