The Lady Toppers romped over New Albany in the play-in round and kept their momentum going against Cleveland April 30 on the home field.
The Lady Wildcats had earned a bye with a district championship but that didn’t seem to make any difference to the Houston girls who racked up 12 runs over four innings setting up an abbreviated game.
Cleveland tried to rally in the top of the fifth with Megan Skelton hitting a two-RBI double over second but she pushed one step to far. Skelton went for a steal to third and was tagged out by Madeline Burdine on a shot from Mary Kansas Sullivan behind the plate.
Reagan Walkers flyout ended the game in five innings and put the Lady Toppers on the road to Cleveland Thursday for Game Two.
The Houston girls didn’t drag things out, handing the Lady Cats a 12-0 shutout to take the series and advance to the second round.
Moving on to another round
Due to weather postponing play at the start of the week, the Lady Toppers had no downtime before moving into their next series against Senatobia. The Houston girls headed to Senatobia Friday night for a much tougher round of competition.
The Houston girls fell 2-8 to Senatobia setting up a must-win, two-game Saturday on the home field.
The Lady Toppers dug in the heels and refused to give up on their dream of a third consecutive trip to State, winning over the Lady Warriors 8-0 and 12-7 to advance to North Half.
Sophomore Madeline Burdine said the mind set of the team changed after their loss on Friday.
“We woke up Saturday knowing it could be our last day on the field together,” Burdine said. “We refused to let that happen.”
HHS senior and Meridian Community College commit, Josie Anderson, agreed the team just wasn’t ready to be finished with the season.
“After that loss, we knew that it was time to play, that this game wasn’t going to be like the other games,” Anderson said. “We had to come a little harder after the loss.”
And now to North Half
The Lady Toppers will host Lafayette at 5 p.m. Friday for the first game of North Half and will head to the land of the Commodores Monday to complete the series.
Houston coach Jeffery Mann said their dedication and drive is in place for the challenge.
“These girls are unbelievable,” Mann said.
Anderson and Burdine, along with the rest of the team, believe in themselves and their opportunity for a return trip to Freedom Park.
“Us seniors want to go out with a bang,” Anderson said. “It would be nice to graduate with two rings. It’s a team thing, we are as one.”
“We want it bad,” Burdine said. “We want to make Houston proud.”