The last time Oak Grove played for a fast-pitch softball State Championship, the Lady Warriors were denied by Madison Central.
The same two teams will meet again for this year’s Class 6A state title, although with one significant difference.
The Lady Jaguars don’t have Kelly Young anymore. Young, last year’s Mississippi Fast-Pitch Softball Gatorade Player of the Year and current Arkansas Razorback, was the ace of the Madison Central staff even as a freshman against Oak Grove in the state title series.
“That’s a lot to lose off of a team,” Oak Grove head coach Gary Ivy said.
But Ivy quickly pointed out that Madison Central is still 25-2 and back in the title series.
“You’ve got to know they’re still playing well, and we won’t expect anything less than a nailbiter,” he said. “Year in and year out, it seems like they’re always representing the North. But we’ll be looking forward to getting some payback.”
Aside from the fact that Young no longer suits up for the Lady Jaguars, the Lady Warriors come into the series — which begins at 7:30 p.m. today at Freedom Ridge Park in Ridgeland — with something else on their side: confidence.
Oak Grove beat Madison Central 7-3 in April at a tournament at North Pike.
“When you see a couple of their pitchers and you hit the ball well against them, it gives you some confidence,” Ivy said. “But until we get there, we won’t dwell on that. We’ll just do what we do, and try to get a little better before (today).”