The Lady Toppers and Lady Wolverines know each other well, on and off the field, but when it’s diamond time, it’s all business.
The teams met most recently in the Vardaman Tournament over Spring break and the Lady Wolverines jumped out to a 4-1 lead through the second and added a fifth run on Madison Flemings’ RBI single in the bottom of the third.
And that’s when the Lady Toppers mounted their comeback.
Alexis McShan doubled to centerfield and advanced to third on Mary Kansas Sullivan’s fly out. Madeline Burdine hit a shot past shortstop and sent McShan home to close the gap a little.
The Lady Wolverines went three-up, three-down in the bottom of the fourth and the Lady Toppers really made their move in the top of the fifth.
Chelsea Robinson made a bunt good and Quaneshia Pratt’s sac bunt advanced her. Josie Anderson’s double moved Robinson over one more base and Chelsea Gates’ line drive past second was good for two RBI. Sullivan got an RBI single and Burdine and Taylor Lancaster added two more to put the Lady Toppers at 7-6 as time ran out in the tournament game.
Although the Lady Wolverines had to settle for a loss, it was the first one of the week and coach Lee Berryhill was pleased with their overall effort.
“We played six games and went 5-1,” Berryhill said of the team’s work during Spring break. “We had some positives and also some areas that we need to work on.”
The 2013 fast-pitch State champions returned a significant number of their trophy team this season, but are currently playing without starting shortstop, Mamie Hollenhead, who was injured earlier in the week.
“(She’s) a little down and wants to get back,” Berryhill said, adding Hollenhead may be able to return to her position in a couple of weeks after she is cleared medically.
Houston coach hopes the win against a well-known opponent will be a confidence builder for the young Lady Toppers.
“We are too unsure of ourselves right now,” Mann said. “We can play with and beat anyone, we just have to realize that.”
The Lady Toppers lost two pitchers to graduation last year and are working Lancaster and Burdine regularly in the position.
“We do not have much pitching depth and our pitchers do not have many games under their belts, but they have done a pretty dang good job for us for the most part,” Mann said. “I understand errors will be made, but we have to eliminate our big errors.”
The Lady Wolverines are scheduled to start off the week at Noxapater Tuesday and host South Pontotoc Thursday.
The Lady Toppers will host Itawamba Tuesday and head to Kosciusko Thursday.
But both teams will end up on common ground Saturday as they participate in the Houston Tournament.