Softball ends season at North State Title Game

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Softball ends season at North State Title Game

The slow pitch softball team gathers before the North State Championship.

The slow pitch softball team gathers before the North State Championship.

Photo courtesy of Allison Woolbright

The slow pitch softball team gathers before the North State Championship.

Photo courtesy of Allison Woolbright

Photo courtesy of Allison Woolbright

The slow pitch softball team gathers before the North State Championship.

Alexis Byrd, Staff Writer

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The New Hope High School softball team was set to play Neshoba Central once again in the MHSAA Class 5A-6A North State Title game. Neshoba looked to eliminate New Hope out of the postseason for the eighth-straight time, and, unfortunately for New Hope, they did.

The Trojans looked to make a statement in the best-of-three series, but fell to Neshoba twice, with scores of 18-8 and 20-1. Many Trojan fans believed their team could snap the streak, but instead they ended with an upsetting 2-0 loss in the series.

The victory by Neshoba Central saw them capture a spot in the State Championship game versus George County on Saturday at Freedom Ridge Park in Ridgeland. Neshoba Central looks to secure their fifth-straight (MHSAA) Class 5A-6A State Championship title.

New Hope Softball coaches and players were left wondering how they couldn’t execute plays well like they do in any other games, especially when they practiced like they would for any other game.

Assistant Coach Billy Lee knew what they were going to be up against, and that it was going to be a challenge.

“The team has the ability to hit the ball really well, and when you have a team like that, they hit the ball left field, right field, center field – and they hit really hard. They have some really good players, so you have to have your defense set the best you can for those people,” Lee explained.

Coach Lee also shared what he thought the team could improve on.

“We should’ve hit the ball better. We didn’t hit the ball really well, and over the last six games we had several players hit home runs and base hits. We just didn’t hit really well. I’m not sure if it was their pitcher or they were a little nervous or what, but it was just one of those games where it just didn’t fall together,” Lee said.

Junior starter Kiley Cox believed they had the teamwork and poise to beat a team like Neshoba Central and their fierce hitting. But unfortunately, that did not materialize.

“We prepared the same like we do any other team, we just switched up the infield and outfield…We could’ve hit the ball better. We just didn’t hit good at all,” Cox said.

Despite being unable to play with her team, Kerrington Bradford expressed how proud she was for her team.

“Even though I was unable to play, I am very proud of my teammates. They worked very hard this season. We had a very rough start but we made it all the way to playoffs.”

The Trojans look to bounce back next season after a difficult loss in the North State Title game. With a ready and focused attitude going into next season, they look to make it back to the playoffs again and advance to the State Championship.