High School Sports

Pascagoula powers past Natchez in 5A softball playoffs

 Pascagoula's Hannah Hambree.

PASCAGOULA-- Hannah Hembree slapped a three-run homer and Anastasia Siggal hit a two-run inside the park home run to Pascagoula to a 16-1 win over Natchez en-route to sweeping their first round Class 5A softball playoffs series on Saturday.

Behind a one-hitter from Taylor Porter Friday, the Panthers (6-10) opened the series with an 18-0 win over Natchez (3-4). Alora Houston had two hits, including a double, three RBIs and two stolen bases to pace the opening win. Siggal added two hits, a triple, and an RBI in the opener. Porter struck out six in the opener, pitching to only two batters over the minimum.

Pascagoula coach Johnny Zelenka believes the rain hurt the team's development of pitchers Taylor Porter and Madelyn Parrish.

"It's been an up-and-down season," Zelenka said. "Both our pitchers are freshmen and are very young. But they are getting experience and they are building some innings behind them. We've had a lot of rainouts this year, and it's been tough on them getting consistency. But they are starting to throw strikes. And when that happens, we play pretty good. The more experience they get, the better off we are going to be.

Behind Siggal's inside-the-park home run and Hembree's RBI double, the Panthers scored 10 runs in the first inning to take control of the game. Hembree also drove in a first-inning run with single on her second trip to the plate in the inning.

Porter got the start in the second game and pitched the first inning, giving up a hit. With the game in hand, Zelenka went to his bullpen for Parrish, who pitched the final two innings for the win. She struck out five, but allowed two hits and walked two batters.

"Our pitchers should come out of the series more confident," Zelenka said. "We are hoping the pitchers come into the second round with more confidence and throw strikes."

Hembree was 3-for-3 and drove in five runs. Iakyla Jackson scored three runs, including the game-ending run. Janiyah Liddell added a pair of hits. Ariyah Williams had an RBI single in the first inning. Victoria Hunter had two RBI.