New Albany is on the verge of winning their first division title in 10 years, but on Saturday, its focus was on gaining non-division victories, as they hosted several of the state’s best teams in a tournament at the Sportsplex.
The Lady Bulldogs opened the day with a 4-0 win over Alcorn Central that saw Sheneka Cullins post a perfect 3-for-3 performance, including an RBI single in the fifth inning. Mallory Beaty and Jalana Cameron also had multiple hits, while the Lady Bears were held to four hits.
New Albany followed that game with a 7-2 setback to Mantachie. Cullins stayed hot, going 2-for-3 with an RBI double in the fourth, but New Albany left seven runners on base and gave up 12 hits to the Lady Mustangs.
“She’s coming around,” NAHS coach Shane Sanderson said of Cullins. “We’ve worked hard coming into the season, and she got in a slump; she kept getting off that front foot, and we worked hard to get the back foot still and hit the ball out. When she’s doing that, she’s as good as anybody, and today she had a lot of big hits.”
Closing out the day, New Albany handed Belmont a 12-3 loss, led by multiple hits from Cameron, Kayla Pavlick, Amber Mirfield and Morgan Beaty.
“We finally woke up,” Sanderson said. “There hasn’t been a Saturday that we’ve come out and really turned things on. They regrouped, came back, and in that Mantachie game, they’re a good team. They played well and we left a lot of runners on base, but we bounced back in the end.”
The Lady Bulldogs have been hit with injuries throughout the season, but have posted an 8-3 record since all of their starters have returned. Unfortunately, the injury bug hit once more, as Mallory Beaty took cleat to her upper leg in the Belmont game, and her return is currently unknown.
“Injuries have plagued us for the last few years,” Sanderson said. “I’ve had four practices that I’ve had my entire team, and Mallory will have to get stitched up. She’s a fighter, so I know she’ll try to be back for Thursday when we play North Pontotoc.”
New Albany will be on the road this week, playing at Booneville on Tuesday and taking their 4-0 division record to North Pontotoc on Thursday. A win over the Lady Vikings will give New Albany the division championship.
New Albany Invitational
AC 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
NAHS 0 1 0 1 1 1 x
Multiple Hits:(NA) Cullins 3,
Mal. Beaty, Cameron; 2B:(NA)
Mal. Beaty, Cullins; 3B:(NA)
Cameron, Shannon Goode.
Mantachie 0 0 4 2 0 0 1
NAHS 0 0 0 2 0 0 0
Multiple Hits:(NA) Lauren Cavender,
Amber Mirfield, Cullins, Kayla Pavlick
(M) Oswalt, Paterson, Devaughn; 2B:
(NA) Cullins (M) Devaugh, Kinelt, Clouse;
Belmont 1 0 0 0 2
NAHS 3 0 1 5 3
Multiple Hits:(NA) Pavlick,
Mirfield, Cameron, Mor. Beaty;
2B:(NA) Mal. Beaty, Mor. Beaty;