By Austin Bishop
The Winston County Journal
The Lady Tigers of Noxapater scored the winning run in the top of the eighth inning to take a 6-5 win over homestanding Ethel to claim a first-round series win in the MHSAA Class 1A State Slow-Pitch Softball Playoffs last week.
Noxapater rolled to an 11-1 win over Ethel in the opening game of the best of three series last Tuesday, before falling 5-0 in game two. The Lady Tigers then won the deciding game to advance to the second round on Saturday.
“It came right down to the wire,” said Noxapater head coach Jodie Duran of her team’s win over Ethel. “That’s the way the playoffs should be.”
Things were a little tougher for Noxapater on Saturday, as visiting Stringer won 17-0 and 17-7 to knock the Lady Tigers out of the playoffs.
“We did not have the season we had hoped for at the beginning of the year, but we fought through adversity through the year and finished hard,” Duran said. “This was our best slow-pitch finish in several years. I can’t complain when we are in the top eight 1A teams in the state.”
Madelyn Wilkes had two singles and a triple to lead Noxapater at the plate in the first game against Ethel, while Kiera Phillips popped three singles and Treasure Lynch, Tiffany Hornesbuger and Emily Mills had two singles each. Also picking up hits for the winners were Anna Claire Webb, Hanna Hamilton, Deanna Sangster and Kayla Thompson.
“It was a great game and a good way to start the series,” Duran said. “We put our hits together and only committed one error.”
Despite getting shut out 5-0 in the second game, Noxapater did have nine hits. Lynch, Phillips and Webb had two singles each for the Lady Tigers, while Wilkes, Brianna Barnett and Kyria Carter each singled.
Carter and Wilkes had three singles apiece for the winners in the deciding third game, with Mills banging out two hits and Lynch popping a triple. Adding singles for the Lady Tigers were Hornesbuger, Webb and Hamilton.