It has become a washout sweep for Mother Nature against DeSoto Central in the Mississippi High School Activities Association postseason softball playoffs, and she also doused any hope of getting a second game of the MHSAA 6A North Half baseball finals in before Monday.
DeSoto Central did get in the first game of its MHSAA 6A state championship softball series against Brandon Thursday night, but the Lady Bulldogs put up a big five-run fifth inning to overtake the defending state champions 7-3 and take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three final series at Nusz Park at Mississippi State.
“We knew they were going to be the best opponent we’ve faced all year and that’s what you want in a state championship,” said DeSoto Central coach Phyllis Hicks after the contest. “Even with the final score, it felt like a tighter game than the score showed. We didn’t make the plays, we threw runs away, we put them on and then threw away opportunities of our own for plays.”
Outside the final score, the line score was fairly even. DeSoto Central tagged Brandon pitching for nine hits and Brandon hit safely nine times. However, Brandon was able to do more with their hits than the Lady Jags could.
Add to that, DeSoto Central committed two errors to just one for the South Half champions from Brandon.
The Lady Jags opened the game with a three-run third inning, taking a 3-0 lead in the process.
“We came out and hit the ball and they made a pitching change,” Hicks said. “We didn’t adjust quicker. Toward the end of the game we made adjustments, but we should have scored more early on.”
However, coach Heidi Hill’s Lady Bulldogs put together a two-run fourth frame, followed by the difference-making five-run fifth to put the game away.
Kaitlyn Bednarek had the “big stick” for the Lady Jags Thursday, going four-for-four with a run scored from the plate. Callie Newman and Hannah Randl each hit safely twice in the contest, and Newman drove in two of DeSoto Central’s three runs with a third-inning double.
Sterling James started in the circle for the North Half champs but was tagged for four of Brandon’s seven runs, three of which were earned, thanks to a three-run homer that ignited the fifth inning uprising.
The MHSAA had hoped to play Friday, but rain pushed the tournament back to Monday in an attempt to get the games in while also working with the Mississippi State softball team’s schedule. DeSoto Central and Brandon are now scheduled to play again Monday at 2 p.m. A third game, if needed, would be scheduled after that.
RAIN BALKS AT BASEBALL: On the baseball diamond, DeSoto Central, which leads its North Half final series with Northwest Rankin 1-0 after a come-from-behind 5-3 victory in Southaven Wednesday, was kept from playing the second game at Flowood Thursday due to the wet weather in Central Mississippi. The contest is now scheduled for Saturday night, starting at 5 p.m. at Smith Wills Stadium in Flowood. A possible game three, if needed, is still to be determined, but would likely not happen until Monday.
The calendar also becomes an enemy for whoever makes it out of the North Half. Game one of the state championship series against the South Half winner is scheduled to start Wednesday, at 7 p.m. at Trustmark Park in Pearl.
In a game moved to Wednesday in an effort to avoid incoming rainfall, DeSoto Central scored five times in the sixth inning to overcome a 3-0 deficit. Terris Meeks led the Jaguars’ offense with a pair of RBIs. Pitcher Cade Smith struck out four in seven innings pitched.
TROJAN BASEBALL KEEPS PLAYING: The Northpoint Christian School baseball team is scheduled to play Clarksville (Tenn.) Academy Saturday at Northpoint in a single-elimination state playoff contest with the winner to meet Webb School in a best-of-three series next weekend in Knoxville. The winner of that quarterfinal series makes the state tournament in Murfreesboro the week of May 20.
NORTHPOINT DISTRICT HONORS: Northpoint softball players who made the TSSAA All-District team this spring included: McKinley Baker, Desirea Smith, Sarah Gill, Kennedy Brown, Livie Sowell, and Lindley Gaines.
SPORTS ETC: Golfers and sponsorships are being sought for the 2019 John “Bull” Bramlett Memorial Golf Classic, set for Tuesday, May 28 at TPC Southwind in Memphis. The 32nd annual tournament proceeds will benefit Bramlett Ministries and the Greater Memphis Fellowship of Christian Athletes. For more information, call the Greater Memphis FCA office at 901-683-3399. Former Tulane and Clemson football coach Tommy Bowden will be the featured speaker.
Bob Bakken is Sports Editor for the DeSoto Times-Tribune.