Lady ''Cats ice post-season berth via split at Co-Lin

April 19, 2012 - 1:19pm -- braswell

WESSON Pearl River Community College clinched a berth in April 26-29''s MACJC State Tournament with its split with Copiah-Lincoln in South Division doubleheader softball action here Wednesday. The Lady Wildcats fell 5-2 in the first game of the twin bill before bouncing back with an error-plagued 9-6 victory in the nightcap game to improve to 20-17 overall and 12-8 in division. With two doubleheaders remaining in its regular season, PRCC is now ensured of at least a fourth-place finish in the heated South Division race. 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 North champion Itawamba CC in Fulton. At present, The River is tied with 14th-ranked East Central for third place in the South behind fifth-ranked and division champ Jones County (20-2) and Mississippi Gulf Coast (13-7). Co-Lin (8-14), Hinds (4-18), and Southwest Mississippi (5-17) round out the South Division cellar and are already eliminated from any post-season contention. Pearl River faces East Central Thursday in Decatur in a make-up twin bill beginning at 3 p.m. (originally scheduled for April 4, but was rained out) before facing Jones Friday in Ellisville in a 4 p.m. doubleheader in both teams regular-season finales. Gulf Coast wraps its regular season by hosting Co-Lin Thursday in Perkinston before traveling to Hinds in Raymond on Saturday, while East Central plays Southwest Mississippi in Summit Friday in its final regular season contest. Were in (the playoffs) and that what counts, said 10th-year Lady Wildcat head coach Leigh White. A couple of weeks back, it didnt look too good for us. In Wednesday first game at Wesson, things were scoreless for the first three innings, but Pearl River went up 2-0 in the top of the fourth only to see Co-Lin tie it up in the bottom of the fifth. PRCC starter Brittany LeBlanc out of North Vermillion High in Lafayette, La., pitched the first five frames before Neely McCrary (5-6) of Petal High relieved in the sixth and gave up three runs off two hits, two walks, and one of the Lady Wildcats two errors to get the mound loss. LeBlanc gave up seven hits, struck out four, and walked two. CLCC starter Sarah Anthony (11-9) went the distance in picking up the win, giving up eight hits, striking out two, and hitting one batter. Whitney Waits of Oak Grove High led PRCC at the plate with three singles, while Hillary Dickens of Picayune High, Alyssa Graeter of Poplarville High, and LeBlanc all had doubles. Janessa Dedeaux of Poplarville High and ETrareo Warren of Meridian High both had base hits. Karla Beth Hux paced the Lady Wolfpack nine-hit attack with a homer and two singles, while Carrie Moak doubled and singled. Emily Smith doubled and Shelby Mitchell, Kaitlin Moak, and Josie Porter all had base hits. Co-Lin played error-free in the game. Pearl River managed to pull out the nightcap victory despite committing a whopping eight defensive miscues, including two in the first inning, two in the second, and one in each of the remaining frames. Things were scoreless after one, but the Lady Wolfpack went up 1-0 in the bottom of the second before the Lady Wildcats tied it up in the top of the third. PRCC jumped to a 4-1 lead in the fourth via a three-run homer by Graeter then added a solo run in the fifth. CLCC added solo runs in the bottom of the fifth and sixth to make it 5-3, but the Lady Cats blew it open in the top of the seven with four runs off a double by starting pitcher Heather Hester of Hancock County High, base hits by Graeter and Warren, and a pair of Co-Lin errors. Hester pitched the first six innings, while McCrary relieved for two-thirds of the seventh and gave up three runs off two hits, three walks, a hit batter, and an error before LeBlanc arrived to strike out Carrie Moak to end the game. Hester (8-3) got the win, giving up three hits, striking out four, and walking five. Anthony (11-10) got the loss in her six-and-two-thirds innings on the mound, giving up 12 hits and striking out two; while Chynna Coughlan relieved with two outs in the seventh, giving up a hit and striking out one. Hester led The River 13-hit attack with a double and two singles, while Graeter homered and singled, McCrary doubled and singled, Morghan Cuevas of Purvis High and Christina Hart out of Northshore High in Slidell, La., both doubled; and Dedeaux, Shannon Brown of Petal High, Waits, and Warren all had base hits. Co-Lin, which committed three errors in the game, managed five hits all singles by Bobbie Cochran, Lacy Duplantis, Hux, Ashley McCaffery, and Smith. Pearl River swept the Lady Wolves 3-0 and 3-1 in an earlier doubleheader played March 24 in Poplarville.

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