|Late-inning rallies spark EMCC Lady Lions to softball sweep at Holmes|
GOODMAN – Winning both games in their final at-bat, the Lady Lions of East Mississippi created a little more breathing room atop the MACJC North Division standings by sweeping Holmes, 6-4 in extra innings and 7-4 in the nightcap, Wednesday afternoon on the road.
Having now won 10 straight division games, head coach Kate Neely’s EMCC Lady Lions moved another game ahead of second-place Itawamba in the standings following ICC’s Wednesday split at Northwest Mississippi. At 16-2 in league play, East Mississippi enters Saturday’s critical doubleheader at Itawamba with a two-game lead over the 14-4 Lady Indians.
During Wednesday’s opener in Goodman, EMCC had to come back from a 3-0 deficit after Holmes’ Kandi Ray capped a three-run third inning with a two-run home run to center field. As EMCC starter Courtney Nunn settled down in the circle with four straight scoreless innings, the Lady Lions chipped away at the lead with solo tallies in the fourth, sixth and seventh frames.
Freshman Mallory Pace, a product of Northeast Lauderdale, led off the fourth and sixth innings with singles and came around to score both times on run-producing at-bats from sophomore Portia Randle of Starkville. Celeste Fontenot, from Baton Rouge, knotted the score at 3-3 to send the contest into extra innings with an RBI double that plated fellow freshman Cayla Coleman, who started the seventh-inning rally with a single.
After both teams scored once in the eighth inning of the international tie-breaker, it was Coleman again who got things rolling for the visitors. The former Clarkdale High School standout singled over lead-off runner Justine Jenkins to third, who proceeded to score the go-ahead run on a passed ball. Fontenot then reached base on a dropped third strike. Following a stolen base by Coleman, DeShuni Sanders pushed across EMCC’s sixth run with a sacrifice bunt.
Nunn, a sophomore right-hander from Jonesboro, La., promptly wrapped up the complete-game, nine-inning victory by retiring the side in order in the bottom of the ninth. In scattering just seven hits – but none coming after the fifth – she finished with six strikeouts while not issuing a walk.
Putting together a 17-hit attack in the nightcap, the Lady Lions, now 18-25 overall, rallied for a three-run seventh inning to break a 4-4 deadlock and ultimately propel them to the key road doubleheader sweep.
With one out in the seventh, EMCC strung together four consecutive singles that produced one run off the bat of Courtney Castleberry. Two batters later, Coleman once again came through in the clutch with a two-out, two-run single for her fifth hit of the afternoon.
In relief of Barry, who pitched two batters into the fourth inning, Nunn worked the final four innings to notch her 15th victory of the season. Despite surrendering two runs in the fifth to allow the Lady Bulldogs to tie the score at 4-4, Nunn maintained her composure and kept the home team off the scoreboard over the final two frames. She gave up five hits during her second-game relief effort, while fanning three and once again not allowing a runner via the base on balls.
With a quartet of Lady Lions having two-hit efforts in Wednesday’s opener, seven EMCC starters produced multiple-hit outings in the nightcap, including three hits apiece by Coleman and Sanders. With two singles and two runs scored in the second game, Leigh Ellen “Hootie” Barefield had a two-run single that initially gave EMCC a 3-1 lead in the third inning and later triggered the team’s seventh-inning rally with her second hit of the contest.
|Last Updated ( Thursday, 15 April 2010 )|
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