Next stop, Freedom Park!

The Lady Toppers continued working their way back to State Friday as they knocked off the Lady Commodores of Lafayette County in Game One of North Half Championship.
The Lady Commodores started off strong in the top of the first, loading the bases with no outs. Katrina Wilson’s sac fly plated Rae Drewery and Moesha Phillips scored on a ground out, but Houston senior pitcher, Taylor Lancaster, got the girls out of the jam striking out Janae Westbook to put the Lady Toppers at bat.
The Houston girls didn’t waste time making a move with Alexis McShan hitting the hole for a single, Mary Kansas Sullivan knocking one over shortstop and Talaja Echoles walking on to load the bases for the Lady Toppers. Madeline Burdine hit a shot over third and down the baseline for a three RBI triple and Lancaster plated Burdine on a groundout to put the Houston girls up 4-2 at the close of the frame.
In the top of the second, the Houston girls turned two with Lancaster striking out Kylie Glass and Sullivan shooting one from the plate to Quaneshia Pratt at first to catch Hope Patton off the bag. A groundout to Chelsea Gates made short work of the inning and the Lady Toppers padded their score in the bottom of the inning.
McShan and Sullivan both reached again on singles and this time Echoles ran the scoreboard up with a three RBI homer over the right centerfield fence to give the Lady Toppers a 7-2 lead.
The Houston defense continued to work together to hold the Lady Commodores at only two runs and Gates capitalized on Sullivan’s flyout to score in the bottom of the fourth for an 8-2 lead the Lady Toppers held for the Game One win.

On the road again
The Houston girls headed to Lafayette County Monday for Game Two of North Half with the winner of the series claiming a spot in the 4A State Championship and came home with their ticket punched to Ridgeland this weekend.
The game was tied 2-2 through the third, but the Lady Toppers got their sparks when they needed them. Gates’ hit a grand slam homer to lift the Houston girls to 7-2 and Burdine’s two RBI inside-the-park home run helped the Lady Toppers move to 10-6.
Echoles’ solo homer was the final Houston score and they held it for an 11-7 win and another trip to State.

Heading to Ridgeland
The Lady Toppers are making their third consecutive trip to Freedom Park and will face the same team they’ve played the past two years.
Houston and Newton County have split games in their series, with Houston claiming the championship in 2012 and Newton County taking home the medals in 2013.
Game One is set for Friday at 7:30 p.m., but is subject to change to accomodate graduation at Newton County. Game Two is scheduled for Saturday at noon.
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