|Top-seeded EMCC falls 6-4 to defending state champ Pearl River in MACJC softball tourney opener|
PERKINSTON – The top-seeded Lady Lions of East Mississippi Community College dropped a 6-4 opening-round decision to the defending state champion Pearl River Lady Wildcats Thursday afternoon at the 2011 MACJC State Softball Tournament hosted by Mississippi Gulf Coast CC.
Pearl River, seeded fourth out of the MACJC’s South Division, took an early 1-0 lead in the second inning on an RBI bloop single by Brandy Rester. Despite loading the bases to begin the frame, the Lady Wildcats managed just the single tally, as EMCC starting pitcher Amy Johnson worked out of the jam and left the bases jammed.
While PRCC starting pitcher Heather Hester was holding the Lady Lions scoreless through the opening three innings, the Lady Wildcats increased their margin to 4-0 in the fourth on a two-out run-scoring single by Rester followed by a two-run home run by Jordan Adams.
Riding the momentum of earning the school’s first outright MACJC North Division title in fastpitch competition, East Mississippi got on track midway through the contest to even at 4-4 with a pair of runs in the fourth and fifth innings. In the fourth, sophomore Nashedra Barry’s two-run single to the left field gap cut the deficit in half by plating both Cory Roberson and Leigh Ellen Barefield, who had walked and doubled, respectively. The next frame, in an inning prolonged by two PRCC miscues, Jessie Clark’s two-out pop-up single to short left field scored Mallory Pace, who was able to get into scoring position following an opposite-field single via an errant throw from the outfield. After Roberson’s grounder to third was misplayed at both corners, Barefield smashed her second double in as many innings down the left field line to bring home courtesy runner Cassandra Cobb with the tying run.
However, after the Lady Lions left the bases loaded to end their two-run fifth inning, Pearl River immediately got busy with four consecutive one-out singles in the sixth to reclaim the momentum. With the bases jammed, Adams’ two-run single up the middle provided the final margin of the first-round contest.
After reaching Hester for nine hits through the first five innings, EMCC went down in order in the sixth and seventh frames. The Lady Lions also stranded eight runners on base through those opening five innings.
Barefield, Barry and Pace all had two hits apiece for the Lady Lions. In the circle, Johnson fell to 17-12 on the season, giving up 11 hits, striking out three and allowing only one walk in going the distance for EMCC.
Improving to 21-20 overall on the season, the Lady Wildcats were led by Rester’s 4-for-4 effort at the plate from the leadoff position. Adams went 2-for-4 with four runs batted in.
Pearl River advances to take on 19th-ranked East Central - a 4-0 winner over Northwest Mississippi – in Friday’s semifinals at 2 p.m. The preceding semifinal-round contest will pit host and seventh-ranked Mississippi Gulf Coast against Jones County beginning at noon, as all four MACJC South Division teams prevailed over North Division clubs in Thursday’s opening-round games. JCJC claimed a 2-0 win over Itawamba, while MGCCC bested Northeast Mississippi 7-4 during Thursday’s nightcap. Friday’s championship contest is slated to begin at 5 p.m.
With their MACJC North Division championship and automatic regional berth in hand, head coach Kate Neely’s 23-21 EMCC Lady Lions now await their first-round opponent in next week’s (May 5-7) NJCAA Region 23 Championship to be held at Traceway Park in Clinton. The regional tournament pairings will be made available following the completion of the MACJC State Softball Tournament.
|Last Updated ( Friday, 29 April 2011 )|
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