|EMCC Lady Lions lose division softball lead by dropping doubleheader at Itawamba|
FULTON – The visiting Lady Lions of East Mississippi Community College lost hold of first place in the MACJC’s North Division softball standings by falling, 3-2 and 13-9, to reigning division champion Itawamba Thursday afternoon at the ICC Softball Field.
With a week left in the regular-season slate, the ICC Lady Indians move atop the standings with a 15-3 league record, while the EMCC Lady Lions drop to second place at 14-4. The two divisional rivals will square off again next Friday (April 22) in Scooba.
In Thursday’s opener, the home-standing Lady Indians plated single runs in the third, fourth and fifth innings to take a 3-0 lead into the final frame. However, ICC committed three of its seven errors of the game in the top of the seventh inning alone to contribute to a pair of EMCC scores. With the potential tying and go-ahead runs on base, Itawamba’s Chelsea Lukens got Lainie Simcox to foul out to end the contest.
Offensively in the first game for the Lady Lions, sophomore DeShuni Sanders had three of the team’s seven hits for the contest with a trio of bunt singles. Fellow sophomore Mallory Pace contributed an RBI-single during EMCC’s two-run seventh, while Simcox added a fourth-inning double for the visitors.
In the circle, freshman Amy Johnson absorbed the complete-game loss, giving up the three earned runs on seven hits, to fall to 13-10 on the campaign. She would start the second contest as well and re-enter the game in the fifth frame to throw two additional innings, but the Starks, La., native did not figure into the game-two decision.
In the wild, high-scoring nightcap, both teams relied on big innings to see-saw the game’s momentum multiple times. Rebounding from their heartbreaking comeback attempt in the opening game, the Lady Lions tagged ICC starter Laura Mitchell for five runs on six hits in the opening frame.
After the Lady Indians got back two of those runs in the bottom half of the inning, they chased EMCC’s Johnson with five runs of their own in the third. To their credit, the Lady Lions fought back to scratch out four runs the next inning to temporarily move on top by a 9-7 margin.
The emotions of the first-place showdown took another turn in the bottom of the fourth, as Itawamba capitalized on some ineffective middle-relief pitching by the visitors. Aided by four bases on balls and four wild pitches by EMCC hurlers in the frame, the Lady Indians reclaimed the advantage for good with a second straight five-run inning.
Helping ICC improve to 24-13 overall on the year, Lukens finished out the second contest for the Lady Indians to raise her pitching mark to 13-3 on the year.
With a dozen hits in the nightcap as a team, the Lady Lions were again paced by Sanders’ 3-for-4 effort at the plate in the second game. The former New Hope High School standout went 6-for-8 on the afternoon with three runs scored. Fellow sophomore outfielder Leigh Ellen Barefield also contributed three singles in the nightcap for EMCC, while Simcox added a pair of singles and a sacrifice fly.
Head coach Kate Neely’s 18-19 EMCC Lady Lions travel to Clarksdale for a scheduled Saturday road doubleheader against Coahoma and then head to Mississippi Delta for a Tuesday twinbill in Moorhead before returning home to play host to Itawamba next Friday (April 22). Figuring to decide this year’s MACJC North Division regular-season title and subsequent top seed in the upcoming MACJC State Tournament (April 28-30), next week’s EMCC-ICC doubleheader is set to begin at 3 p.m. on the Scooba campus.
|Last Updated ( Friday, 15 April 2011 )|
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