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Pearl River draws Co-Lin in MACCC Tournament opener

POPLARVILLE, Miss. — The No. 20 Pearl River softball team now knows its next opponent. The entire 2021 MACCC Tournament bracket was revealed Thursday afternoon with the 5th-seeded Wildcats (27-13 overall) set to face fourth-seeded Copiah-Lincoln (27-7) at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. The entire tournament is hosted by Itawamba in Fulton and runs through Saturday.

The winner of PRCC/Co-Lin will play the winner of Hinds/Itawamba at 7:30 p.m. Thursday while the other team will drop into the loser’s bracket and play the loser of HCC/ICC.

Although the Wildcats dropped both games against No. 5 Co-Lin 5-1, head coach Christie Meeks likes the draw and, more specifically, how her team is playing.

“Going into this tournament we know every team is good. It was going to be tough no matter what,” Meeks said. “I’m excited about where we are in the bracket, now it’s just in the girls’ hands to show up and do their thing.”

The Wildcats, who climbed back into the NJCAA’s Division II rankings this week after debuting at No. 13 two weeks ago, are currently riding a four-game winning streak and playing some of their best softball.

“I feel like we’re in such a good spot right now,” Meeks said. “Our girls are feeling good hitting and they’re feeling good pitching. 

“This is when you’re supposed to get hot and they’re playing freer now than they have ever been.”

The MACCC is filled with tough teams as 10 different squads have been featured in the NJCAA rankings. To make a run, the Wildcats will need to carry over their momentum.

“On any given day any team can beat anyone else. This conference is so tough,” Meeks. “We’re going to need to pitch well and we’ll need to play together as a team. When we come out and we’re determined that every person has their mind in the game it’s really special to watch.

“It’s just up to you to get hot at the right time.” 

LOOKING AHEAD
Performing well will be the Wildcats’ key to extending their season beyond next week as the MACCC Tournament will feed into the six-team Region XXIII Tournament. Itawamba, which won the MACCC regular season, gets a bye into the tournament, as does LSU-Eunice. The next four teams from the MACCC Tournament will fill out the Region XXIII Tournament field.

LEADERS
The Wildcats have featured a well-rounded attack in 2021, hitting .342 with a .406 on-base percentage and .546 slugging percentage. Collectively, PRCC has also hit 42 homers and stolen 77 bases while only being thrown out 10 times.

Ten Wildcats are hitting at least .300, led by McKall Holder’s (Hurley; East Central) .438 average. She also leads PRCC with 44 RBIs. Kaitlyn Passeau (Lucedale; George County) has slugged a team-high 10 homers.

In the circle, Hannah Embry (Vicksburg; Porter’s Chapel Academy) is 13-4 with 129 strikeouts in 109 innings. She also boasts a 3.28 ERA.