The Meridian Star
For the Meridian softball team, it was over before it began Thursday night, as Quitman blew out the Wildcats 19-0 in three innings at the Northeast Park.
Quitman batted around twice in the first quarter, capitalizing on 10 hits and three Wildcat errors to build a 11-0 lead heading into the bottom half of the inning.
“It was something we needed,” Quitman head coach Eric Neel said of his team's win. “We played Oak Grove twice and New Hope once, so we've been loaded up. We needed a day where we came out and we felt like the better team for once. We knew going in, we could get off to that kind of start if we play great.”
Starting pitcher Abigail Toomey would handle the rest for Quitman. Toomey went all three innings for the Panthers, striking out eight batters while only allowing a single hit. Neel said he was impressed with how Toomey was able to keep the ball low in the zone, something he has been stressing to his pitchers early in the season.
Toomey said the early cushion allowed her to pitch her game and not worry about making mistakes.
“I was pretty confident,” Toomey said. “I knew I had a group of girls behind me to back me up. There wasn't a lot of pressure. It's not like if you come out and walk a couple you are going to lose the game.”
Hannah Hampton had a big night at the plate for the Panthers, going 2/3 with a double and two RBIs. Chequira Bonner, and Shonte Hales also had two hits for Quitman on the night.
Meridian was without its No. 1 starting pitcher Jenny Campbell who is out with pneumonia. The 'Cats also suffered from a poor night in the field, accounting for seven errors on the night.
“We are just young,” Meridian head coach Amy Sharpe said. “We are getting better though. We are just young, and we are going to go from there. We are building from the babies I guess.”
Meridian (1-7) has struggled early on in the season. However Sharpe sees improvement in her team and is using this time to get her girls ready for district play.
“We are just focused on getting better,” Sharpe said. “Even when you play games where you are at your worse, the only way to go is up. We are working on getting better, and we are going to get there.”
Meridian will play Southeast at home March 18, while Quitman (2-4) will hit the road tomorrow to play West Jones and Oak Grove in the JCJC Tournament.
“We got to keep working,” Neel said. “We have been saying that success doesn't mean that we are finished. We have to keep pushing along and keep getting better, thats been our goal all season.”