OCEAN SPRINGS - Senior Madison Burge got it done in the pitcher's circle and in the batters box Tuesday night as Harrison Central pulled away for a 7-2 softball win over Ocean Springs.
With the win, the Red Rebelettes take a 1-0 lead in the three-game Class 6A second-round playoff series. The series will be decided when the two teams face off at 5 p.m. on Thursday at Harrison Central (20-3). Ocean Springs (13-9-1) needs to win to force a game three, which would start immediately after game two.
Ocean Springs scored a pair of runs to grab a 2-1 lead in the first inning Tuesday, but Burge rebounded to hold the Lady Greyhounds scoreless in the final six innings to improve her record to 7-0.
At the plate, Burge went 2-for-4 and knocked in five runs.
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"She started off a little rocky, not her normal self," Harrison Central coach Jimmy Parker said. "But she settled in. She led us out there in the middle of the field. She started throwing well after about the second or third inning, She got a little rhythm going."
Burge pitched all seven innings, giving up no earned runs on six hits, striking out three and walking two and striking out eight.
"The first inning, I really wasn't me. I wasn't feeling myself," Burge said. "I know I have to understand these games coming up are not going to be like regular season games. I've been throwing one-hitters, shutting everybody out. I had to settle down."
Burge started the scoring in the top of the first when her sacrifice fly scored Desirea Lindsey from third for the 1-0 Harrison Central lead.
Ocean Springs answered in the bottom of the first when Jacey Fontenot doubled with two outs to bring home a pair of runs and grab the 2-1 lead.
Several Ocean Springs batters made nice contact Tuesday night, but they couldn't quite come up with the big hit in the latter stages of the game.
"Offensively, we looked strong," Ocean Springs coach Lindsay O'Brien said. "(Madison York) did a heck of a job on the mound. She was hitting her spots. She did a great job, but our defense and small game fell apart."
York tossed all seven innings for Ocean Springs, giving up seven runs on 10 hits. She struck out three and walked two.
Harrison Central led off the third with three straight singles and Burge brought home the lone run of the inning with a ground out to third base, allowing Lindsey to score from third and tie the game at 2-2.
The Red Rebelettes regained the lead in the fifth when Burge got under a pitch and left it spinning in the air on a short pop-up in front of home plate. There was some confusion on the Ocean Springs infield and the ball hit the ground, bounced back toward the catcher, striking her in fair territory. The ball rolled back behind home plate, allowing Simone McKinney to score from third and make it 3-2 in Harrison Central's favor.
"I was definitely thinking, uh oh," Burge said of when she made contact. "I just tried to hustle. I never knew what was going to happen, but I'm glad it worked out in our favor. God was on our side on that one."
Ocean Springs padded its lead with four more runs in the seventh inning, including a two-run single by Burge.
Junior center fielder Simone McKinney was 3-for-4 with two runs scored and Desirae Lindsey accounted for three runs scored for the Red Rebelettes.
Fontenot finished 2-for-3 with two RBIs for Ocean Springs.