Northeast Miss. eliminates Pearl River with 4-1 victory in MACJC State Tournament semi-finals

FULTON Pearl River Lady Wildcats were eliminated in the semi-finals of the MACJC State Tournament here Friday at Itawamba CC with a 4-1 setback to Northeast Mississippi.PRCC, the South No. 4 seed, defeated North No. 1 Itawamba 4-3 in Thursday quarter-finals and dropped to 21-22 with the setback. North No. 3 NEMCC improved to 23-14 and played South No. 1 Jones County in the state championship game Friday at 5 p.m. (results unavailable).The Lady Wildcats committed three crucial errors in the contest, while the Lady Tigers played error-free.Northeast appeared ready to strike early, but left runners stranded at second and third in the bottom of the first inning. Lead off Raleigh Downs was hit by a pitch before Haley Knepp walked. The duo moved to second and third off Nicki Whitten ground out before River starter Brittany LeBlanc out of North Vermillion High in Lafayette, La., struck out Jaisa Fox and retired Andrea Cutts to end the inning.The Lady Tigers went up 1-0 in the bottom of the second when Ellen Tarrant led off with a walk and Katie Beth Dahlem followed with a bloop single to center. The runners moved to second and third off Jazmin Smith ground out with Tarrant getting nailed in a rundown between home and third when Kelsie Follin reached on a fielder choice.After Downs walked to load the bases, Dahlem scored when Knepp reached on an error. Nicki Whitten pop out to short ended the inning.Northeast padded its lead by two in the bottom of the third when Fox led off with a single and Cutts reached on an error with both runners winding up at second and third. After Tarrant lined out to third, Dahlem singled in Fox and Smith followed with an RBI sacrifice to center to make it 3-0. Follin fly out to center ended the inning.PRCC Janessa Dedeaux of Poplarville High was belted by a pitch to lead off the top of the fourth, moved to second off a sacrifice bunt by Heather Hester of Hancock County High, and on to third an out later off a line-drive single by Hillary Dickens of Picayune High. Both were left stranded when LeBlanc flew to left for the final out.The River ETrareo Warren of Meridian High smashed a one-out, line-drive double to right field in the top of the fifth, but was nailed at third trying to stretch her belt into a triple.Northeast made it 4-0 in the bottom of the sixth when Smith cracked and line-drive single to left, Follin walked, and Smith scored when Knepp reached on an error. Nicki Whitten fouled out to end the inning.Dickens led off the top of the seventh with an up-the-middle single before LeBlanc followed with a line-drive base hit to center. That prompted the mound exit of starter Erin Dixson for Fox, who immediately saw pinch hitter Neely McCrary of Petal High pop out to the mound and Warren sacrificed the Lady Wildcats only run home before Shannon Brown of Petal High struck out to end the game.Dixson picked up the win in her six innings on the mound, giving up six hits, striking out four, and hitting two batters; while Fox struck out a batter in the seventh.LeBlanc (5-9) got the loss in going the distance, giving up five hits, striking out one, walking three, and hitting a batter.Dickens paced the Lady Wildcats with three singles, while Warren doubled (one RBI) and LeBlanc and Waits both had base hits.Dahlem led Northeast with a pair of singles (one RBI), while Fox and Smith (one RBI) both had base hits. Knepp had two RBIs for the Lady Tigers.Pearl River has already copped a berth in next week Region 23 Tournament at Traceway Park in Clinton along with Jones County, Itawamba, LSU-Eunice, Northwest Mississippi, and Northeast Mississippi.

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