Northwest Edged by 3rd-Ranked Jones County in State Semis
April 27, 2012By Kevin Maloney of NORTHWEST MISSISSIPPI COMMUNITY COLLEGE
FULTON – Jones County used a two-run rally in the bottom of the fourth inning for the game's only runs, and advanced to its first-ever MACJC State Championship game after holding on to defeat Northwest, 2-0, Friday afternoon at the ICC Softball Complex. | Box Score | Watch Replay
The 3rd-ranked Lady Bobcats improved to 38-7 overall while Northwest dropped to 30-10-1.
Scoreless through the first three frames, Northwest put together its first scoring threat in the fourth.
The Rangers loaded the bases with no outs after back-to-back-to-back singles from Natalie Smock, Vicki Johnson and Codie Jones, causing a meeting in the circle for Jones County. After Casey Baddley lined into a double play at short, Stormy Robison delivered a two-out shot to center for a base hit, but Johnson was thrown out by Relanda McFarland at home despite a great slide to avoid the tag.
Jones County used the momentum of avoiding a bases-loaded jam with no outs in Northwest's at-bat, and in turn loaded the bases in the bottom of the fourth.
Jones County capitalized on what Northwest was unable to do, however, scoring runs with the bases loaded. Lexus Griffith's RBI-walk in the No. 9 spot plated the eventual game-winning run, while Haley Brooke Smith's RBI-single through the right plated the second run.
Northwest's only other real threat came in the sixth, getting a runner to second with one out thanks to a Smock single and sacrifice bunt from Johnson. But a strikeout and lineout ended the frame.
Northwest out-hit Jones County 8-5 on the day but stranded seven runners on base and several in scoring position. Linsey Hebert and Smock each had two hits for Northwest.
Ginger Lonergan improved to 19-3 in the circle in a complete game shutout, scattering eight hits and four strikeouts. Baddley was hit with her first loss since March 8 at Itawamba, falling to 17-2 overall after scattering five hits, two runs, four walks and two strikeouts.
Jones County will advance to play Northeast for the state championship at 5 p.m.
Northwest will return to the diamond May 3 in Clinton at the Region 23 Tournament and will open with the nation's top-ranked team LSU Eunice (44-8) at 4 p.m.