Lady Wildcats begin state play
Playoff-bound Pearl River Community College was swept by fifth-ranked Jones County in MACJC South Division softball action here Thursday in Community Bank Park with the host Lady Bobcats winning 9-5 in the first game before taking a nine-inning 3-2 victory in the nightcap.
JCJC, which captured the South Division championship last week, improved to 36-7 overall and 22-2 in division play; while PRCC dropped to 20-21 and 12-12.
The Lady Wildcats clinched a No. 4 seed berth in April 26-28’s (Thursday through Saturday) MACJC State Tournament at Itawamba CC in Fulton with its split at Copiah-Lincoln on Wednesday and will open tournament play against the host North champ Lady Indians at 4 p.m. on Thursday.
The top four finishers in the MACJC North and South divisions earn spots in state tournament, which will be played at the home field of the North champions (ICC).
In Friday’s first game at Ellisville, Pearl River went up 2-0 in the top of the first before Jones scored a solo run in the bottom of the inning. After a scoreless second, the Lady Wildcats padded their lead to 4-1 with runs in the top of the third and fourth with the Lady Bobcats two runs in the bottom of the frame and one in the fifth tied it up at 4-4 heading in to the sixth.
The River was scoreless in the sixth, while Jones added five in the bottom of the inning to make it 9-2. PRCC scored its final run in the top of the seventh.
Starter Ginger Lonergan (8-5) picked up the win in going the distance, giving up nine hits, striking out four, and walking one; while Heather Hester (8-5) of Hancock County High got the loss after relieving starter Neely McCrary of Petal High in the fifth. Hester gave up five hits and recorded a strikeout, while McCrary allowed five hits and had a strikeout.
Hester led the Lady ’Cats at the plate with a home urn, a double, and a single; while Janessa Dedeaux of Poplarville High and Hillary Dickens of Picayune High both had homers and singles. Shannon Brown of Petal High doubled and McCrary had a base hit.
Relanda McFarland paced the Lady Bobcats’ 10-hit effort with a double and two singles, while Lexus Griffin and Bethany Volking both doubled. Karley Crosby, Brooke David, Angela Land, Haley Brooke Smith, and Jessmar Walters all had base hits.
Pearl River committed two errors in the game to Jones County’s three.
In the nightcap, the Lady Bobcats went up 1-0 in the bottom of the opening frame and that one-run edge remained intact until the Lady Wildcats tied it up in the top of the sixth.
After the seventh and eight went scoreless, PRCC scored a go-ahead run in the top of the ninth before JCJC scored two in the bottom of the inning to end the game.
Starter Lauren Candied (17-3) got the win in going the distance, giving up a meager three hits, striking out three, and walking three; while River starter Brittany LeBlanc (4-8) out of North Vermillion High in Lafayette, La., got the loss. She also pitched the distance, giving up seven hits and a walk.
Morghan Cuevas of Purvis High, Dedeaux, and Brown all had base hits for Pearl River, while K.T. Perkins paced Jones’ seven-hit attack with a doubled and a single. Crosby and Rebecca Dun both doubled, while David, Smith, and Volking had base hits.
Each team committed one error in the game.
JCJC swept PRCC in a previous doubleheader played March 27 in Poplarville with 10-1 and 9-1 victories.
The Lady Bobcats will open state tournament action when they take on the North No. 4 seed at 2 p.m. on Thursday.