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Lady Wildcats on a roll of late

POPLARVILLE — The softball team at Pearl River Community College has been on a roll of late, and the Lady Wildcats hope to continue that recent trend today.

Pearl River’s Lady Wildcats swept Southwest Mississippi in MACJC South Division softball action here Thursday, shutting out the visiting Lady Bears 7-0 in the first game of the doubleheader before claiming a 5-4 victory in the nightcap contest.

The victories made it a clean sweep of SMCC in 2014 for the Lady ’Cats, as PRCC posted 3-0 and 6-5 wins in a previous meeting between the two teams played March 1 in Poplarville to open its South Division schedule.

Pearl River improved to 19-11 overall and 13-5 in division play, while Southwest dropped to 9-20 and 5-13.

In the first game, the Lady Wildcats opened the scoring with an impressive six-run barrage in the bottom of the second. Lead off batter Kelsea Lewis of Oak Grove High singled and Kaci Lantrip of Terry High doubled before Rachel Hickman of Poplarville High followed with an RBI double. Courtney Warr of Theodore (Ala.) High followed with a base hit, setting the stage for a two-run double by Hannah Holloway of Petal High to make it 3-0.

An out later, Megan Scronce of Petal High reached on a fielder’s choice when Warr was nailed at home, but Heather Boutwell of Oak Grove High followed with a two-run double and Emily Jackson an RBI single to make it 6-0 before Lewis popped out.

In the bottom of the third, The River left runners at first and second when Holloway hit into a double play to end the inning.

Scronce scored the game’s final run in the fourth.

Hickman (11-5) started and went the distance for PRCC to pick up the win, giving up five hits, striking out a season-high eight, and walking none, while SMCC starter Abigail Hall (2-6) got the loss. She also went the distance, giving up 12 hits and walking three batters.

Kristen Gekler and Brieana Harper both had two singles to lead the Lady Bears at the plate, while Shaden Miller had a base hit.

Lantrip paced the Lady Wildcats’ 12-hit attack with two doubles, while Holloway doubled and singled (two RBIs), Boutwell (two RBIs) and Jackson (two RBIs) had two base hits each, and Allie Flint of Madison Central High, Hickman (one RBI), Lewis, and Scronce all had singles.

SMCC committed an error in the game to PRCC’s none.

In the nightcap, things were scoreless until the bottom of the second when Pearl River scored a solo run before blowing it out in the third with six. That 7-0 advantage remained intact until Southwest scored its three runs in the top of the seventh.

Reliever Shelby Perry of Sumrall High (1-1) picked up the win in five innings on the mound, giving up four hits, striking out one, walking two, and hitting a batter, while starter Ashley Hawkins of Theodore (Ala.) High pitched two frames, giving up four hits and recording a strikeout.

SMCC starter Madison Teague (4-5) got the loss in her five innings of action, giving up all 12 hits, striking out five, and walking two. Gekler relieved in the sixth, striking out one and walking a batter.

Gekler paced the Lady Bears’ eight-hit effort with a double and a single (two RBIs), while Chelsea Nette had two base hits, Hall doubled, and Harper, Payton Lewis and Harley Myers all had singles.

Jackson and Scronce (two RBIs) led the Lady Wildcats’ 12-hit attack with each doubling and singling, while Boutwell and Lewis had two base hits each. Hawkins homered (one RBI) and Lantrip (two RBIs), Perry, and Brooke Roberts out of Saint Amant High in Gonzales, La., all had base hits. Rachel Breland of Poplarville High also had an RBI for Pearl River.

Each team committed an error in the game.

Thursday’s doubleheader was originally scheduled for last Friday, but was postponed due to wet field conditions.

Pearl River returns to action when it travels to South Division foe Meridian CC in Meridian Saturday for a 1 p.m. doubleheader before hosting division rival Mississippi Gulf Coast Tuesday with a 3 p.m. twin bill in Lady Wildcat Stadium.