Desoto County Sports

Lady Tigers fall with last at-bat Lady Cougar rally

Game two of 7A state softball finals set for Thursday night

Photo: The Hernando Lady Tigers softball team poses for a photo after receiving their North Half Championship trophy Wednesday ahead of the MHSAA 7A championship series opening game (Jon Ross Myers/Mississippi Sports Group)

After holding the state’s top-ranked and unbeaten softball team scoreless through six innings, the Hernando Lady Tigers (27-8) saw Northwest Rankin (33-0) mount a last at-bat rally to win the first game in the MHSAA 7A state final series Wednesday night at Southern Miss 5-4.  

Northwest Rankin holds a 1-0 series lead against the Lady Tigers with game two set for Thursday evening at 6:45 p.m. If Hernando wins that game, a deciding game three will be played at a time to be determined on Saturday.  

Wednesday night, Hannah Sullivan’s double gave the Lady Cougars the winning runs to climax the five-run final frame where Northwest Rankin trailed 4-0 to Hernando entering the inning.  

Hernando took a 2-0 lead in the first inning with Jayla Sites hitting a two-run double that scored Olivia Higginbotham and Katelyn Kirkpatrick.

The Lady Tigers held the lead from there and increased the margin in the fifth with two more runs for a 4-0 margin. Higginbotham hit a single that scored Molly Anderson. That was followed by a bases-load walk that brought in Kaitlyn Gentry from third base.  

The Lady Cougars rally in the seventh included a bases-loaded walk for a score, followed by a run-scoring single, a foul fly out to right field that scored another run, followed by Sullivan’s heroics with the game-winning double.  

Sites, Higginbotham and Kirkpatrick each had two hits among those picked up by Hernando and Sites earned two RBIs. Sites had a big night at the plate with a double and a triple among the eight-hit Hernando offense.  

Olivia Skinner suffered the loss in the circle for Hernando, pitching 1.1 innings in relief of starter Kate Johnson. Skinner allowed all five runs, one of which were earned, struck out two and walked three. Johnson threw 5.1 innings, struck out three and walked three. She also allowed seven hits but no runs.  

Note: Hernando state softball coverage is provided thanks to the support of Windy City Grille in Hernando.