Must win for PRCC

Published 1:41 pm Friday, April 18, 2014

POPLARVILLE — The softball team at Pearl River Community College will have to wait until later tonight to see how good Friday actually will be.

The Lady Wildcats are in a must win situation today, hosting East Central in MACJC South Division action beginning at 2 P.m. The home team must sweep the twinbill in order to qualify for the upcoming state tournament.

PPRCC finds its self in this precarious predicament after getting swept in league play Tuesday on the road in Wesson where homestanding Co-Lin took two games winning 3-2 and 2-1 (eight innings).

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The River dropped to 22-16 overall and 16-10 in division play, while The Lady Wolves moved to 23-15 and 15-11.

The top four finishers in the MACJC north and south divisions earn berth’s in next week’s best-of-three playoff series (North 1 hosting South 4, South 1 hosting North 4, North 2 hosting South 3), and South 2 hosting North 3) with the winners copping berths in May 2-4’s MACJC State Tournament.

That event will be hosted by the highest-seeded North winner of its playoff series. Should the South win out in the series, the highest seed will earn hosting rights.

In Tuesday’s action, both teams loaded the bases in the first inning, but Co-Lin managing two runs. Pearl River, on the other hand, opened the game with a lead off double by Megan Scronce of Petal High before Emily Jackson of Theodore (Ala.) High walked an out later. Kelsea Lewis of Oak Grove High followed with a base hits to left to load the bases, but Kaci Lantrip of Terry High popped out and Rachel Hickman fouled out to squash the threat.

CLCC lead off batter Brooke Laigast singled and moved to second on a passed ball before Hannah Roberts was hit by a pitch a strikeout later. Breanna McKenzie and Missy Romero then cracked RBI singles to make it 2-0. Kayla Craft’s ensuing base hit reloaded the bases, but PRCC starter Hickman struck out Kacie Berry to end the inning.

Pearl River knotted things up in the top of the second when Courtney Warr of Theodore (Ala.) High led off with a base hit to right, moved to second on a wild pitch before Hannah Holloway of Petal High struck out. A ground out by Allie Flint of Madison Central High moved Warr to third, setting the stage for Scronce’s RBI single. Heather Boutwell of Oak Grove High then smacked a base hit to right and Jackson followed with an RBI single to tie it up before Lewis was retired for the final out.

Things remained deadlocked until the bottom of the fourth when Payton Sheffield led off with an up-the-middle single, stole second, and scored the go-ahead run off Laigast’s double to center. Savannah Johnson reached on a bunt before Roberts’ base on balls loaded the bases. Hickman then struck out McKenzie, Romero reached a fielder’s choice, and Kayla Craft grounded to third to end the inning.

Both teams left runners on base in the fifth, while PRCC saw Flint get a two-out double in the sixth. Lewis managed a single in the seventh.

Starter Gonzales (14-6) got the win in going the distance, giving up nine hits, striking out two and walking two, while Hickman (14-7 got the loss. She also went the distance, giving up seven hits, striking out six, walking our, and hitting two batters.

Lewis paced The River’s nine-hit attack with three singles, while Scronce doubled and singled (one RBI). Flint doubled and Boutwell, Jackson (one RBI), and Warr all had base hits.

Laigast led CLCC at the plate with a double and a single (one RBI).

In the nightcap, Co-Lin went up 1-0 in the first, but Pearl River managed to tie it up in the third when lead off Scronce singled and scored two outs later off Lewis’ base hit.

That stalemate remained intact until to bottom of the eighth when Romero scored the winning run.

Ironically, Gonzales and Hickman were again the winning and losing pitchers — both in relief. Gonzales (15-6) relieved in the sixth, going three innings, giving up a hit, and striking out one, while Rheagan Welch started and went five frames, giving up nine hits, striking out one and walking two. Hickman (14-8) took over the mound in the fifth, pitching three-and-a-third, giving up four hits, and striking out two. Ashley Hawkins of Theodore (Ala.) High started and went four innings, giving up five hits, walking one, and hitting a batter.

Holloway, Lewis (one RBI), and Brooke Roberts of St. Amant High in Gonzales, La., paced PRCC’s 10-hit attack with two singles apiece. CLCC finished with nine hits, led by Roberts’ double and two singles.

Pearl River and Copiah-Lincoln split in a previous division doubleheader played March 22 in Poplarville. CLCC won the first game 7-4, while PRCC won the nightcap 3-2.

Today’s twinbill begins at 2 p.m.