LAKE CORMORANT — The New Hope High School softball team lost to Lake Cormorant 3-2 in eight innings Thursday night in game one of the best-of-three Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 5A North State title series.
Game two will be at 2 p.m. Saturday in Columbus. An if-needed game would follow that game approximately 30 minutes later.
“It was a heartbreaker,” New Hope coach Tabitha Beard said. “We didn’t hit the ball as well as I thought we would, and they did a good job swapping out pitchers. We laid off their riseball and forced them to swing at some balls that they normally don’t swing at.
“Defensively, I couldn’t have asked for more. They made diving plays all over the place and played Lady Trojan defense. We’re going to have to do it again and keep producing results.”
New Hope (25-4-1) scored one run in the first inning. Kaitlin Bradley’s one-out bunt in front of home plate started things. D.J. Sanders and Kasey Stanfield singled to set up senior Anna McCrary, whose RBI single made it 1-0.
Lake Cormorant, which eliminated New Hope from the Class 5A North State playoffs last season, touched Sanders for back-to-back doubles in the bottom of the sixth to tie the game.
The teams remained tied after seven innings and were pushed to the international tiebreaker, which puts a runner at second base to start the eighth inning. Sanders helped the Lady Trojans capitalize with a double to make it 2-1.
But an infield throwing error with two outs and the bases loaded allowed Lake Cormorant to score two runs in the bottom half of the inning.
Beard praised her team’s defense, especially left fielder Ashley Reed, who made a running, over-the-shoulder catch going back to the wall.
Beard said the Lady Trojans left the bases loaded and failed to convert on several chances to put things together.
Sanders pitched a complete-game four-hitter. She walked one and struck out one.