|North champion EMCC to meet defending state champ Pearl River in MACJC softball tourney opener|
The two-day, single-elimination tournament will be hosted by Mississippi Gulf Coast CC in Perkinston.SCOOBA – On the heels of claiming the school’s first outright division fastpitch softball championship, the top-seeded Lady Lions of East Mississippi Community College will meet reigning state champion Pearl River at 2 p.m. during Thursday’s first round of the 2011 MACJC State Softball Tournament.
With a 23-20 overall record on the season, including a division-best 19-5 league mark, head coach Kate Neely’s EMCC Lady Lions enter this week’s state tournament riding the momentum of last week’s division-clinching home doubleheader sweep of Itawamba. Needing to win both games a week ago against the visiting Lady Indians to claim the division title and secure the resulting No. 1 tournament seed, EMCC held on for a 4-2 opening win over ICC and then rallied to take the nightcap, 5-4, with two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning.
Making their third straight appearance in the MACJC State Softball Tournament, the Lady Lions own an impressive .342 collective team batting average on the year. With all eight non-pitching position players batting .313 or better for the season, EMCC is paced at the plate by freshman third baseman Lainie Simcox. The former Southeast Lauderdale standout enters postseason play hitting a club-best .470 with a team-high six home runs. Sophomore shortstop Mallory Pace, a Northeast Lauderdale product, follows at .397 while leading the Lady Lions with 34 runs batted in and 37 runs scored.
In the circle for East Mississippi, freshman right-hander Amy Johnson, of Starks, La., leads the way with a 17-11 pitching record, including 81 strikeouts and only 31 walks in 176 innings of work on the year. Sophomore right-hander Nashedra Barry owns a 6-3 record and staff-best 1.39 ERA along with posting a .353 batting average as EMCC’s starting first baseman when she’s not pitching.
Guided by ninth-year head coach Leigh White, the Lady Wildcats of Pearl River Community College earned the South Division’s No. 4 seed after managing a doubleheader split against then-No.17 Jones County during last week’s regular-season finale in Ellisville. As the defending MACJC state champion, PRCC enters postseason play with a 20-20 overall record and 12-12 division mark. Seeded fourth in last season’s MACJC tournament as well, the Lady Wildcats collected their school-first state softball title a year ago on the Itawamba campus by knocking off host ICC in the first round, Mississippi Gulf Coast in the semifinals and East Central in the championship contest.
The winner of Thursday’s EMCC-PRCC contest will advance to take on the winner of the East Central-Northwest Mississippi matchup Friday at 2 p.m. in semifinal-round action. Thursday’s other opening-round games will pit Itawamba against Jones County at 4 p.m., followed by host and seventh-ranked Mississippi Gulf Coast versus Northeast Mississippi at 6 p.m. Friday’s championship contest is slated to begin at 5 p.m. on the MGCCC campus.
|Last Updated ( Wednesday, 27 April 2011 )|
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