River splits with Southwest

            MCCOMB — Pearl River committed a whopping eight errors in a 6-5, nine-inning MACJC South Division softball loss to host Southwest Mississippi here Saturday before the Lady Wildcats rebounded with an 9-0, error-free shutout in six innings over the Lady Bears in the nightcap contest here Saturday.
            PRCC improved to 18-12 overall and 7-5 in division play with the split, while SMCC is now 16-16 and 6-8.
            The first game started out like a nightmare for The River, which committed four errors in the bottom of the first and Southwest generated a 2-0 lead.
            The Lady Wildcats bounced back with a solo run in the top of the third and tied it up with another run in the fourth off a solo homer by Kaci Lantrip of Terry High before taking a 3-2 edge in the top of the sixth.
            In the bottom of the seventh, the Lady Bears retied it to send things into extra innings. Both squads had solo runs in the eighth, while PRCC went up 5-4 in the top of the ninth; but SMCC’s two runs in the bottom of the frame iced the win.
            All told, Pearl River left 16 runners on base in the game.
            Kristen Gekker picked up the win after relieving starter Rachel Smith in the fifth. She pitched the final four-and-a-third innings, giving up six hits, striking out three, and walking two; while Smith gave up seven hits, struck out three, walked one, and belted two batters with pitches.
            Starter Brittany LeBlanc (8-4) got the loss in going the marathon distance, giving up six hits, striking out three, and walking three.
            Shannon Brown of Petal High paced Pearl River’s 13-hit attack with a triple and three singles, while Whitney Waits of Oak Grove High had three base hits, Megan Scronce of Petal High two singles, Lantrip homered, and Heather Boutwell of Oak Grove High and Emily Jackson and Courtney Warr, both out of Theodore High in Mobile, Ala., all singled.
            Southwest finished with six hits, led by Chelsea Nette and Carrie Phillips with two singles each; while Breana Harper and Harley Myers both had base hits.
            The Lady Bears committed three errors in the game.
            In the second game, starter Neely McCrary of Petal High hurled a three-hitter to take the six-inning victory.
            Pearl River went up 2-0 in top of the opening frame off a two-run homer by Jackson, then added solo runs in the second and third. Two more runs came the Lady Wildcats’ way in the fourth before ending the game via the eight-run rule with three in the sixth.
            McCrary (7-5) went the distance, giving up six hits, striking out one, and walking one; while starter Carrie Phillips got the loss in her five innings of action. Phillips gave up six hits, struck out six, and walked five; while Gekker relieved in the sixth, giving up four hits and walking one.
            Jackson led The River’s 10-hit effort with a home run and a single, while Kelsea Lewis of Oak Grove High doubled and singled, Waits had two base hits, and Boutwell, Brown, McCrary, and Warr all singled.
            Nette had two singles for the Lady Bears, while Marissa Jenkins had a base hit.
            PRCC swept SMCC in a previous division twin bill played March 9 in Poplarville, taking 7-3 and 10-0 (five innings) victories.
            Pearl River resumes action Tuesday when it travels Community Bank Park in Ellisville to face fourth-ranked host Jones County in a 4 p.m. division doubleheader before division foe Copiah-Lincoln visits Lady Wildcat Stadium in Poplarville Saturday for a 12 noon twin bill.
            Following its Co-Lin battles, PRCC eyes four more doubleheaders, including fifth-ranked Mississippi Gulf Coast in Perkinston on Wednesday, April 17 (3 p.m. division DH); Hinds at home on Saturday, April 20 (12 noon division DH), top-ranked LSU-Eunice on Tuesday, April 23 (3 p.m.), East Central on Saturday, April 27 (12 noon division DH).
            The top four finishers in the North and South divisions earn berths in the MACJC State Tournament set for May 2-4 at the home field of the South Division champion.

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