EMCC’s winningest softball season in five years ends with pair of losses at No. 9 Pearl River

Published 1:20 pm Friday, May 5, 2023

EMCC Sports Information

POPLARVILLE – East Mississippi Community College’s winningest softball season in five years came to a close following Tuesday’s road sweep, 8-2 and 5-1, at the hands of ninth-ranked Pearl River Community College.

While taking on their third nationally ranked opponent down the stretch of the regular season, the Lions were limited to six total hits by Pearl River’s standout pitching tandem of Brinson Anne Rogers and Natalie Herrington. In contrast, nine of the Wildcats’ 13 total runs scored on the day came via five home runs.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

In the opening game, Morgan Lavergne drove in five of PRCC’s eight runs with a three-run homer in the second inning off EMCC starting pitcher Lana Atkins and a two-run shot in the fifth off Carys Goodwin. Dallyn Nance added a solo homer to lead off the fifth inning.

The Lions’ offense in the opener came on solo runs scored in the third and fourth innings. Layla Roper’s leadoff single in the third was followed by Celeste Study’s double to the right-centerfield gap. A frame later, EMCC’s Devyn DeBardelaben was hit by a pitch for the first of three times on the afternoon and later came around to score.

Ki’arah Byrd had the Lions’ other hit in the first game with a one-out single in the fifth inning.

Pearl River’s home run stroke continued into the nightcap, as Lavergne’s leadoff home run in the first inning – her third homer of the doubleheader – was followed two batters later by Julianah Overstreet’s two-run blast.

To her credit, EMCC starting pitcher Laken Firth bounced back with two no-hit innings before Pearl River used three straight hits in the fourth frame to extend the lead to 5-0. The sophomore right-hander, out of Grand Bay, Ala., then settled down again to keep the Wildcats off the board during the final two innings.

In the circle for PRCC, Rogers was dominant once again with 15 strikeouts on the way to recording her MACCC-leading 18th win of the season. The only run she allowed was an inside-the-park home run that was slashed down the leftfield line and into the corner by Sidney Argo after the sophomore outfielder hit six consecutive foul balls. The transfer from Shelton State Community College, via Ewing, Ky., finished her one season in Scooba with a team-leading .397 batting average and 22 stolen bases from the leadoff position.

EMCC’s other hits in the nightcap were Byrd’s leadoff single in the third inning and Magen Caro’s single in the seventh.

Under the guidance of first-year interim head softball coach Mackenzie Byrd, the EMCC Lions finished the 2023 season with the program’s most overall wins (11) and most conference victories (8) since the 2018 softball campaign.

EMCC’s youthful 2023 softball squad, consisting of 12 freshmen and six sophomores, opened the MACCC slate with four straight wins and sat at 8-4 in conference play before encountering a challenging season-ending stretch that comprised three opponents currently ranked 11th or higher in the NJCAA Division II rankings and two other opponents that are presently receiving national votes. Dating back to the beginning of April, all but one of EMCC’s final eight MACCC opponents will compete in next week’s NJCAA Region 23 Softball Tournament.