Pearl River wraps season with 8-0 semi-final setback to top-ranked LSU-Eunice

            CLINTON — Pearl River’s Lady Wildcats wrapped their 2013 softball season with an 8-0 (five innings) loss to top-ranked LSU-Eunice (La.) Saturday in semi-final action of the Region 23 Tournament underway at Traceway Park.
            Fifth-seeded PRCC finished its year at 26-23 overall, while third-seeded LSU-E improved to 47-9 and earned a berth in the regional title bout against top-seeded and eighth-ranked Jones County. The Lady Bengals, who plummeted into the loser’s bracket with its 5-4 loss to JCJC on Friday, avenged that setback with a 6-0, 10-4 sweep over the Lady Bobcats to claim the regional championship.
            JCJC and LSU-E both earned berths in the NJCAA Division II National Tournament set Wednesday through Saturday at Traceway.
            Pearl River eliminated second-seeded and seventh-ranked Mississippi Gulf Coast 8-3 late Friday to get to the semi-finals.
            In the season finale contest, things were scoreless for the first two-and-a-half frames before LSU-E scored four in the bottom of the third, thanks, in part, to a three-run homer by Emily Nolan. The Lady Bengals added another four in the fourth. After PRCC went three up, three down in the top of the fifth, the game ended via the eight-run rule.
            Starter Julienne Broussard (24-2) got the win in going the distance, giving up three hits, striking out two and walking two; while starter Brittany LeBlanc (12-11) out of North Vermillion High in Maurice, La., got the loss in her three innings of action. She gave up three hits, struck out three, walked three, and hit two batters before Neely McCrary of Petal High relieved in the fourth. She gave up a hit and walked three.
            Kelsea Lewis of Oak Grove High doubled and singled for the Lady Wildcats, while Emily Jackson out of Theodore High in Mobile, Ala., had a base hit. Taylor Simon paced LSU-E’s four-hit effort with a pair of base hits, while Emily Nolan homered and Pamela Wainwright doubled.
            Each team committed one error in the game.
            PRCC fell into the loser’s bracket when it opened the tournament with am 11-10 set back to Gulf Coast before rebounding with a 2-1 elimination win over Itawamba prior to the victory over MGCCC late Friday.
            Against Gulf Coast, Pearl River went p 2-0 in the top of the first and added a solo run in the top of the third before the Lady Bulldogs tied it up at 3-3 in the bottom of the frame.
            After two scoreless innings, the Lady Wildcats pumped its lead with two in the sixth and added three more in the seventh to take the five-run victory.
            Starting pitcher McCrary (11-9) got the win in her five innings of action, giving up five hits, striking out one, and walking three; while LeBlanc relieved in the sixth, striking out one.
            Gulf Coast starter Reina Baluja (12-4) got the loss in going the distance, giving up 11 hits, striking out four, and walking two.
            Lewis led PRCC at the plate with a double and a single, while Whitney Waits of Oak Grove High had two base hits, Jackson homered, and Heather Boutwell of Oak Grove High, Shannon Brown of Petal High, Kaci Lantrip of Terry High, and Megan Scronce of Petal High all had singles.
            MGCCC finished with five hits, led by Danielle Craft’s double and single, while Baluja doubled, and Morgan Fairley and Leah Kittrell both had base hits.
            The River committed one error in the contest to Gulf Coast’s three.

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