Lady Wildcats win

Published 6:54 am Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Special to the Item

POPLARVILLE — Pearl River’s Lady Wildcats secured a third-place finish in the MACJC South Division with a doubleheader sweep over East Central’s Lady Warriors here Monday to wrap the 2009 regular season.

PRCC, which enters MACJC State Tournament play this Friday at Copiah-Lincoln in Wesson, finished 27-13 overall and 16-8 in division play with Monday’s 8-0 (six innings via eight-run rule) and 4-2 victories. East Central, 19-21 and 12-12, finished fourth in the division and also copped a post-season berth behind first place Co-Lin (20-4 division record) and second place Mississippi Gulf Coast (18-6).

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In the first game of the twin bill, Lady Wildcat starter Molly Stell of Florence, Ala., pitched her second-straight two-hitter to propel PRCC to victory. The sophomore righthander struck out five, walked one, and hit one batter en-route to picking up her ninth win of the season compared to four losses.

Britney Cochran cracked a two-out single in the first inning, while Allison Phillips reached in the third for ECCC’s two hits in the game.

Pearl River went up 2-0 in the bottom of the first when Mykeal Maes of Bay High smacked a two-out single and Bethany Russell of D’Iberville High followed with a two-run homer out of center.

In the bottom of the second, the Lady Wildcats padded their lead with four more runs when Virginia Blanchet of Pearl River Central led off with a double to center, Laken Taormina doubled to right an out later, and Baleigh Volking of Enterprise followed with a two-run single to center. Laurin Locke of Petal High scored Volking with a double, then Maes’ single pushed Locke home to make it 6-0 after two.

After a scoreless third inning, Volking bashed a one-out triple to left field in the bottom of the fourth and Locke’s ensuing single to center made it 7-0.

It appeared that PRCC would end the game via the eight-run rule in the fifth when Virginia Blanchet belted one just over the left center field fence only to see center fielder Allison Phillips snatch it away with an impressive over-the-fence grab.

The Lady Wildcats grabbed the victory via the eight-run rule in the bottom of the sixth when Volking hit a one-out double, Locke reached on an error, and Maes sacrificed in the winning run.

ECCC starter Amber Smith went the distance in picking up the loss, striking out one and hitting a batter.

Volking paced Pearl River’s 11-hit attack with a triple, a double, and a single (two RBIs); while Russell homered and singled (two RBIs), Virginia Blanchet and Locke (two RBIs) both doubled and singled, Taormina doubled, and Maes singled (two RBIs).

In the nightcap, the Lady Wildcats went up 3-0 in the bottom of the first when Volking led off with a walk and scored off Locke’s double. Maes followed with an RBI double, then Virginia Blanchet doubled an out later to drive in a third run.

After scoreless second and third innings, East Central got on the board in the top of the fourth when Leah Dennis drew a one-out walk and scored an out later off Hannah Lee’s double to center field.

In the top of the fifth, Emily Thrash smacked a one-out single to center, then Phllips’ single through the gap prompted the exit of PRCC starter Katie Barrett of Bay High for Stell, who immediately gave up an RBI double to center by Amy Sharp to make it 3-2.

The Lady Wildcats scored the final run of the afternoon in the bottom of the frame when Maes led off with a single, Virginia Blanchet blooped a single to right an out later, and Miranda Blanchet of Pearl River Central and Megan Brooks of D’Iberville High drew back-to-back walks to make it 4-2.

East Central threatened in the sixth when Hailey Chisholm led off with a single and Paige Holsen singled an out later before Sierra Farlow hit into a double play with runners at first and third.

Barrett (8-4) got the win in the four-and-one-thirds innings on the mound, striking out four and walking one; while Stell relieved in the fifth.

Starter Kayla Barnes went the distance in picking up the loss.

Both teams finished with 10 hits with Allison Phillips leading the way for the Lady Warriors with three singles, while Cochran had two base hits. Lee (one RBI) and Sharp (one RBI) both doubled, while Chisolm, Holsen, and Thrash all had base hits.

Maes paced Pearl River with a double and two singles (one RBI), while Virginia Blanchet doubled and singled (one RBI), Volking tripled, Locke doubled (one RBI), and Brooks (one RBI), Bethany Russell, and Casie Russell of Gautier all had base hits.

The Lady Wildcats swept the Lady Warriors 3-2 and 6-4 (eight innings) in a previous doubleheader played April 16 in Decatur.