|EMCC Lady Lions draw top-ranked LSU-Eunice to begin regional softball tournament in Clinton|
Game time for EMCC’s regional tournament opener on Thursday is set for 4 p.m. on Field #2 at Traceway Park in Clinton.
SCOOBA – Seeking to bounce back from their opening-round exit in last week’s state tournament, the Lady Lions of East Mississippi Community College will begin competition in this week’s NJCAA Region 23 Softball Tournament by meeting the top-ranked LSU-Eunice Lady Bengals.
The six-team, double-elimination tournament runs through Saturday in Clinton. With the top two seeds – No. 1 seed/state champion East Central and No. 2 seed/state runner-up Mississippi Gulf Coast – receiving opening-game byes, the other first-round matchup will pit MACJC South Division foes Jones County (No. 4 seed) and Pearl River (No. 5 seed) Thursday at 4 p.m. on Field #1. The EMCC-LSUE winner will advance to face Gulf Coast, while the JCJC-PRCC winner will meet East Central. Both winners’ bracket contests will be played at 6 p.m. on Thursday.
No. 19-ranked East Central, this year’s MACJC state softball champion, is also the defending NJCAA Region 23 softball tournament champion. Mississippi Gulf Coast was ranked seventh nationally in last week’s poll before falling to ECCC during Friday’s championship game of the state tournament played in Perkinston. A year ago in Clinton, the Lady Warriors of East Central claimed a 7-1 win over the MGCCC Lady Bulldogs in the regional title matchup.
Losers’ bracket competition begins Friday at noon this week in Clinton. The team coming out of the losers’ bracket will have to win three consecutive games (noon, 2 & 4 p.m.) on Friday in order to advance to Saturday’s championship game(s). Both the regional tournament winner and runner-up will advance to the NJCAA Division II National Tournament to be held May 19-21 in Normal, Ill.
Head coach Kate Neely’s EMCC Lady Lions, seeded sixth in this week’s regional tournament, are 23-21 overall after dropping a 6-4 first-round decision to 2010 MACJC state champion Pearl River last Thursday in Perkinston. With a 19-5 record in MACJC North Division play on the year, East Mississippi entered last week’s Gulf Coast-hosted MACJC State Softball Tournament with a top seed after claiming the school’s first-ever division title in fastpitch softball competition. This will mark EMCC’s first appearance in softball regional tournament competition since 2002.
Hitting a collective .340 for the season as a team, EMCC’s Lady Lions feature all eight position players batting .304 or better on the year, including freshman third baseman Lainie Simcox (Southeast Lauderdale HS) and sophomore shortstop Mallory Pace (Northeast Lauderdale HS) leading the way at .452 and .400, respectively. The tandem has also combined to drive in 62 runs while scoring 73 runs between them this season. In the circle, freshman right-hander Amy Johnson (Starks, La.) is the workhorse of the EMCC pitching staff with a 17-12 record.
Entering the week as the nation’s No. 1-ranked team in NJCAA Division II softball, the third-seeded Lady Bengals of LSU-Eunice begin regional tournament action sporting a 48-9 overall record. Under the guidance of head coach Andy Lee, LSUE has put together a composite record of 135-38 and .780 winning percentage over the past three seasons. The Lady Bengals are hitting .335 as a team on the year and have outscored their opponents 394-129.
EMCC and LSU-Eunice have met three previous times this softball season with the Lady Bengals taking all three prior decisions. In February, the Lady Lions dropped a tough 3-2 decision to LSUE at the inaugural Jones County-hosted Gwen Magee Invitational played in Ellisville. The following month in Eunice, La., the Lady Bengals swept visiting EMCC, 7-0 and 8-0.
|Last Updated ( Tuesday, 03 May 2011 )|
|< Prev||Next >|