|EMCC Lady Lions earn fourth straight state softball tourney berth with home DH split vs. Northwest|
SCOOBA – With a fourth straight MACJC State Softball Tournament appearance at stake, the Lady Lions of East Mississippi Community College claimed a 4-3 comeback win in game one to earn a doubleheader split against visiting Northwest Mississippi Community College Friday afternoon on Sophomore Day at the EMCC Softball Field.
In the nightcap, the Northwest Rangers staged an impressive comeback of their own with nine runs in the sixth inning to turn a 5-1 deficit into a 10-5 victory and salvage the twin-bill split for the visitors.
Entering the day on a six-game winning streak down the stretch of the regular season, head coach Kate Neely’s EMCC Lady Lions also needed help from MACJC North Division champion Itawamba to lock up the fourth and final division seed in next week’s MACJC State Softball Tournament. With EMCC and Holmes deadlocked at 11-11 in division play at the start of the afternoon, the home-standing ICC Lady Indians obliged by sweeping the Lady Bulldogs, 1-0 and 5-1, in Fulton.
Hosted by Itawamba Community College, next week’s MACJC State Softball Tournament will take place Thursday and Friday (April 26-27) in Fulton. EMCC’s first-round opponent will be fifth-ranked Jones County Junior College, the MACJC’s South Division regular-season champion, in a 2 p.m. Thursday contest.
In game one of Friday’s regular-season finale, the visitors took a 3-0 lead in the third inning as EMCC starting pitcher Misty Richard ran into control problems. The freshman right-hander walked in back-to-back runs before giving way to fellow freshman Shelby Sheppard, who promptly fanned Codie Jones and Vicki Johnson to leave the bases loaded and give the Lady Lions some spark.
With renewed energy, EMCC began to chip away at the deficit by scoring a solo run in the bottom of the third when ICC starter Casey Baddley incurred some wildness of her own. After Baddley walked the bases full with two outs, Sheppard helped her own cause by drawing a bases-loaded walk.
The Lady Lions closed the gap to 3-2 two innings later when sophomore Cory Roberson delivered a clutch two-out single to right field to bring home Haley Tutor, who led off the inning with a walk and advanced to second on a delayed steal.
As Sheppard continued to hold the Rangers in check in her relief role, EMCC’s comeback was completed in the bottom of the sixth. Shelby Whitt got things started with an infield single that resulted in her advancing to second on a throwing error. After a sacrifice bunt by Alyssa Farr, Amber Spann lined a double down the left-field line to knot the score at 3-3. Following an infield out, Tutor’s routine fly ball was missed by the right fielder sending Spann around to score the eventual winning run.
Offensively in the opener, Whitt and freshman Alex Smith each had two singles to lead the way for the Lady Lions at the plate. In the circle, Sheppard, a former Kemper Academy product, improved to 8-5 on the year by allowing just three hits in 4.2 innings of shutout relief work with six strikeouts and no walks.
The Lady Lions, who completed the regular season at 18-23 overall and 12-12 in division play, seemed to carry the momentum into the early portion of the nightcap by jumping out to a 5-1 lead after five innings. With a two-out, two-run double by Tutor and run-scoring singles from Spann and Paige Sheppard during a four-run fifth inning, EMCC appeared to be in control with Shelby Sheppard seemingly in a groove during her game two starting assignment in the circle.
Sheppard entered the fateful sixth inning having retired 10 consecutive batters, but the bottom soon fell out for the home team. With their first four hitters reaching base, including a pair of doubles, the Rangers would send 14 batters to the plate in producing their game-changing nine-run frame. As a trio of Lady Lion pitchers worked through the inning, three EMCC miscues in the frame also contributed to the turnaround.
Stormy Lewis, a recent Delta State signee from Quitman, led EMCC’s nine-hit team effort in game two with a 2-for-3 outing at the plate.
As the MACJC North Division’s No 2 seed in next week’s MACJC State Softball Tournament, the Northwest Rangers completed their regular season at 29-9-1 overall and 18-6 within the division.
|Last Updated ( Friday, 20 April 2012 )|
|< Prev||Next >|