Second-ranked Lady Bobcats drill Lady Wildcats 9-0 in five to open MACJC Tournament

 FULTON --- Pearl River’s Lady Wildcats face the end of their season after falling to the second-ranked Jones County Lady Bobcats 9-0 in five innings Friday in their opening game of the MACJC State Softball Tournament underway here at Itawamba Community College.
PRCC will face North Division champ ICC, 8-2 losers to Mississippi Gulf Coast to open Friday’s action, at 3 p.m. Saturday in an elimination game. JCJC, the South Division champ, takes on MGCCC to kickoff Saturday’s action with the loser of that contest playing the PRCC-ICC winner at 5 p.m.
The championship game is set for 1 p.m. Sunday. If a second game is needed, it will be played at 3 p.m.
Lady Bobcat starter Samantha Buller (24-1) hurled a one-hitter en route to picking up the win and retired three straight River batters to open the game.
In the bottom of the first, PRCC starter Rachel Hickman of Poplarville High struck out the first batter she faced, but belted Kimberly Nilsson with a pitch before Tori Dew doubled to left center. With runners at second and third, Lauren Holifield struck out, but Brittany Seale followed with a two-run single to center. After Makenzie Hawkins walked, the runners advanced off a passed ball before Hickman K’d Bailey Stokes to end the inning.
After a scoreless second, PRCC lead off Kaci Lantrip of Terry High in the third reached on an error, moved to second off a sac bunt by Allie Flint of Madison Central High before Buller retired two straight.
In the bottom of the frame, Seale drew a one-out walk, Hawkins reached on a fielder’s choice, and Stokes singled, setting the stage for Reagan Gavin’s three-run over the left center field fence to make it 5-0 before Savannah Lyon grounded out to the pitcher to end the inning.
After the Lady Wildcats went three up, three down in the fourth, Hickman walked lead off C.C. Lawn before Nilsson’s RBI double made it 6-0. After Dew singled, Hickman exited the mound for Ashley Hawkins of Theodore (Ala.) High who immediately gave up an RBI single to Holifield and Seale duplicated the feat for an eighth run. An out later, Stokes walked to load the bases, setting the stage for Gavin’s RBI single. Hawkins then walked Savannah Lyon to reload the corners before Lawn grounded out to short to end the inning.
In the fifth, lead off Hawkins singled for PRCC’s only hit of the contest. An out later, Lantrip walked, Flint popped out, and Megan Scronce of Petal High hit into a force out to end the game via the eight-run rule.
Buller also recorded a strike out and a walk, while Hickman (19-9) got the loss in her three innings of work, giving up seven hits, striking out three, walking three, and hitting a batter. Hawkins gave up two hits and walked two.
Dew and Nilsson (one RBI) both doubled and singled to pace the Lady Bobcats’ nine-hit attack, while Seale had two base hits (three RBIs), Gavin homered (four RBIs), and Holifield (one RBI) and Stokes both singled.
JCJC committed two errors in the game to PRCC’s one.
The Lady Bobcats swept the Lady Wildcats twice during the regular season with 7-2 and 11-1 (five innings) March 19 in Poplarville and 6-5 and 9-1 (five innings) in Ellisville.
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May 2-4 / Itawamba Community College / Fulton, MS
Friday, May 2
Pearl River     (26-17)   000   00X    X  --  0     1     1
Jones County (44-2)     203   4XX    X  --  9     9     2
WP: Samantha Buller (24-1), starter, distance, 1 hit, 1 K, 1 BB.
Also Pitching: None.
Catcher: Bailey Stokes.
LP: Rachel Hickman (19-9), starter, 3 innings, 7 hits, 3 K, 3 BB, 1 HBP.
Also Pitching: Ashley Hawkins (4), 1 inning, 2 hits, 2 BB.
Catcher: Kelsea Lewis.
Pearl River: Ashley Hawkins.
Jones County: Tori Dew 2B, 1B; Kimberly Nilsson 2B, 1B (RBI); Brittany Seale 2-1B (3 RBI), Reagan Gavin HR (4 RBI), Lauren Holifield 1B (RBI), Bailey Stokes 1B.
NOTE: JCJC is the MACJC South Division champions and ranked No. 2 in the latest NJCAA Division II softball poll.
UP NEXT: JCJC will race Mississippi Gulf Coast, 8-2 winners over North champ Itawamba in Friday’s opening game, at 1 p.m. Saturday, while PRCC will face ICC at 3 p.m. in an elimination contest. The winner of the PRCC-ICC game will play the loser of the JCJC-MGCCC match up in an elimination game at 5 p.m. The MACJC title bout is set for 1 p.m. Sunday. If a seventh game is needed, it will start at 3 p.m.

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