River in Region 23 Tournament semi-finals after opening-round split with Jones, Gulf Coast

Holloway HomerunELLISVILLE --- Surprisingly, Pearl River Community College is one win away from nabbing an NJCAA National Tournament berth set May 14-17 at Traceway Park in Clinton.
The only obstacle standing in the Lady Wildcats’ way is the second-ranked and MACJC champ Jones County Lady Bobcats --- hosts of the Region 23 Tournament underway here in Community Bank Park and the team that handed them a 4-1 setback Thursday in their regional opener before PRCC bounced back with a dominating 12-3 elimination victory (five innings) over Mississippi Gulf Coast to earn a rematch with the host Lady Bobcats’ in Saturday’s semi-final bout at 11 a.m.
A win over JCJC spells a berth in the national tournament and regional title bout against top-ranked LSU-Eunice, as the top two Region 23 finishers will continue their seasons next week in Clinton.
LSU-E (57-2 overall) canned Gulf Coast 10-2 in six innings to open the tournament Thursday before smacking Jones 5-2.
In PRCC’s opening game against JCJC, the Lady Wildcats gave the Lady Bobcats all they could handle.
After The River went three up, three down in the top of the first, Jones had runners at second and third with one out in the bottom of the inning before Lauren Holifield hit into a double play to squash the threat.
Pearl River duplicated its offensive effort in the second, but the Lady Bobcats scored the game’s first run in the bottom of the frame when Brittany Seale led off with a single, Bailey Stokes walked an out later, and Reagan Gavin reached on fielder’s choice scoring Seale. After Stokes was nailed in a rundown between second and third, Savannah Lyon walked before C.C. Lawn grounded out to second to end the inning.
Again, PRCC went three up, three down in the third, but starting pitcher Courtney Warr out of Theodore (Ala.) High gave up a one-out double to Tori Dew in the bottom of the inning, prompting her mound exit for Rachel Hickman of Poplarville High, who retired Holifield before Seale’s single to center field saw Dew nailed at home for the final out.
Lead off Meagan Scronce of Petal High cracked the Lady Wildcats’ first base hit of the game in the fourth, but Lady Bobcat ace Samantha Buller retired three straight. JCJC went three up, three down to end the inning.
In the fifth, Hannah Holloway of Petal High smashed a two-out solo home run over the centerfield fence to tie it up at 1-1, while Lyon cracked a lead off single in the bottom of the frame only to see Dew hit into a force out two outs later.
In the sixth, Heather Boutwell of Oak Grove High had a two-out single down the right field line before Buller struck out Emily Jackson of Theodore (Ala.) High.
In the bottom of the inning, JCJC iced the game with a three-run barrage, starting with a one-out solo homer by Seale out of left center field, then Stokes singled an out later, Gavin reached on a fielder’s choice with Stokes sliding safely into second, and Lyon’s single to right pushed Stokes home to make it 3-1. After Callen Gibson walked to load the bases, Kimberly Nilsson cracked an RBI single to center for the game’s final run before Dew flew out to center to end the inning.
In the seventh, Warr made it interesting with a one-out single to right, but was thrown out at home when Hickman doubled, winding up at third. Buller then retired Holloway to end the game.
Buller (27-1) got the win in going the distance, giving up five hits and striking out one, while Hickman (20-10) got the loss in her three-and-two-thirds innings of relief, giving up six his, striking out two, and walking one. Warr pitched two-and-a-third, giving up three hits, and walking three.
Holloway led PRCC at the plate with a homer (one RBI), while Hickman doubled, and Boutwell, Scronce, and Warr all had base hits.
Seale paced JCJC’s eight-hit attack with a home run and two singles (one RBI), while Dew doubled and singled, Lyon had two base hits (one RBI), and Nilsson (one RBI) and Stokes both singled. Gavin also had an RBI.
Pearl River committed two errors in the game to Jones County’s none.
It was all Lady Wildcats in their dominating 12-3 elimination win over archrival Gulf Coast.
PRCC went up 2-0 in the top of the first when Scronce led off with a walk, moved to second of Boutwell’s sacrifice bunt, then to third off Jackson’s single to left before scoring off Lewis’ sacrifice to right. Warr followed with a base hit before Rachel Hickman smashed an RBI double to left. Holloway flew to right for the final out.
In the bottom of the frame, Ashley Hickman led off with a single, stole second, and moved to third on Emily Davis’ ground out. Rachel Hickman walked Brooke Gaston before Britney Butler hit into a force out to end the inning.
With one out in the second, Allie Flint of Madison Central High and Scronce reached on errors before Jackson walked an out later to load the bases only to see Lewis hit into a force out. Gulf Coast went three up, three down in the bottom of the inning.
Pearl River opened the floodgates in the top of the third with a stunning nine-run effort.
Warr led off with a single off the center field fence, Rachel Hickman walked, before Kaci Lantrip of Terry High smashed a three-run homer an out later. Flint followed with a line drive single to center, Boutwell and Jackson drew back-to-back walks to load the bases an out later, setting the stage for Lewis’ two-run single to make it 7-0.
Runners at first and second advanced on a passed ball and scored off Warr’s base hit center for two more runs, which saw Hallie Frenn arrive in relief of starter Paige Breal. Frenn immediately gave up a two-run homer to Rachel Hickman to make it 11-0 before retiring Holloway for the final out.
Gulf Coast managed a pair of runs in the bottom of the inning when Cat Campbell led off with a single, moved to second off Ashley Hickman’s sac bunt, and scored an out later off Davis’ double to left center. Gaston’s single to left scored Davis before Butler grounded out to the mound to end the inning.
In the fourth, Lantrip led off with a line drive single to left center, Scronce walked an out later and Lantrip scored The River’s final run off Boutwell’s fly out. After Jackson walked, Lewis hit into a force out.
The Lady Bulldogs managed a lead off double by Brooke Ladner before Rachel Hickman retired three straight --- striking out the last two she faced.
In the fifth, Warr led off with a single, Micah Davis of Poplarville High reached on a fielder’s choice an out later, and Lantrip flew to center for the final out.
Gulf Coast managed a solo run in the bottom of the frame, but the game ended via the eight-run rule.
Rachel Hickman (21-10) got the win in going the five-inning distance, giving up five hits and striking out one, while starter Paige Breal (3-4) got the loss in her two-and-two-thirds innings of work. She gave up eight hits and walked five, while Hallie Frenn pitched two-and-two-thirds of relief, giving up three hits and walking two.
Warr paced the Lady Wildcats’ 10-hit attack with four singles (two RBIs), while Rachel Hickman homered and doubled (three RBIs), Lantrip homered and singled (three RBIs), and Flint, Jackson, and Lewis (three RBIs) all had base hits. Boutwell had an RBI.
MGCCC finished with five hits, led by Ashley Hickman’s two singles, while Davis (one RBI) and Ladner both doubled, and Campbell singled. Gaston had an RBI.
Pearl River committed one error in the game to Gulf Coast’s three.
 
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PEARL RIVER COMMUNITY COLLEGE
SPORTS INFORMATION
 
2014 REGION 23 SOFTBALL TOURNAMENT
May 8-10 / Jones County Junior College / Ellisville, MS
 
PEARL RIVER vs. MISS. GULF COAST
Thursday, May 8
 
Pearl River           (28-19)   209   10X    X   -- 12    10     1
Miss. Gulf Coast  (35-20)   002   01X    X  --    3     5      3
 
WP: Rachel Hickman (21-9), starter, distance, 5 hit, 1 K.
Also Pitching: None.
Catcher: Kelsea Lewis.
 
LP: Paige Breal (3-4), starter, 2.2 innings, 8 hits, 5 BB.
Also Pitching: Hallie Frenn (3), 2.1 innings, 3 hits, 2 BB.
Catcher: Dani Craft.
 
HITTERS
Pearl River: Courtney Warr 4-1B (2 RBI), Rachel Hickman HR, 2B (3 RBI); Kaci Lantriop HR, 1B (3 RBI); Allie Flint 1B, Emily Jackson 1B, Kelsea Lewis 1B (3 RBI). Heather Boutwell RBI.
 
Miss. Gulf Coast: Ashley Hickman 2-1B, Emily Davis 2B (RBI). Brooke Ladner 2B, Cat Campbell 1B. Brooke Gaston RBI.
 
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PEARL RIVER vs. JONES COUNTY
Thursday, May 8
 
Pearl River     (27-19)   000   010    0   --  1     5     2
Jones County (46-2)     010   003    X  --  4     8     0
 
WP: Samantha Buller (27-1), starter, distance, 5 hit, 1 K.
Also Pitching: None.
Catcher: Bailey Stokes.
 
LP: Courtney Warr (3-4), starter, 2.1 innings, 3 hits, 3 BB.
Also Pitching: Rachel Hickman (3), 3.2 innings, 6 hits, 2 K, 1 BB.
Catcher: Kelsea Lewis.
 
HITTERS
Pearl River: Hannah Holloway HR (RBI), Rachel Hickman 2B, Heather Boutwell 1B, Megan Scronce 1B, Courtney Warr 1B.
 
Jones County: Brittany Seale HR, 2-1B (RBI); Tori Dew 2B, 1B; Savannah Lyon 2-1B (RBI), Kimberly Nilsson 1B (RBI), Bailey Stokes 1B. Reagan Gavin RBI.
 
NOTE: No. 1-ranked LSU-Eunce defeated Miss. Gulf Coast 10-2 (six innings) to open Thursday’s regional action prior to PRCC’s defeat to host Jones County. LSU-E defeated JCJC 5-2 in Game 3, while Pearl River followed with its victory over Miss. Gulf Coast. MGCCC is eliminated from the tournament and ends its season. Due to Friday’s forecast of rain, the action will resume Saturday.
 
UP NEXT: Pearl River and Jones County eye a rematch Saturday at 11 a.m. with the winner facing LSU-E in the championship rounds immediately afterwards. PRCC or JCJC will have to defeat LSU-E to claim the regional title. Both teams in the title bout earn berths in the NJCAA National Tournament.
 

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