PERKINSTON The reigning MACJC state champion Pearl River Lady Wildcats face a do-or-die scenario for any chance at repeating their historical feat of a year ago as they head into their regular-season finale against Jones County in Ellisville. After Mississippi Gulf Coast, which clinched the South Division crown and hosting rights to next week MACJC State Tournament last weekend, handed the Lady Cats a pair of 4-0 shutouts here Tuesday; The River now must at least split with JCJC in Friday 3 p.m. doubleheader to squeak in to the state tournament as the South No. 4 seed. PRCC dropped to 19-19 overall and 11-1 in division play, while host MGCCC, ranked No. 10 in the latest NJCAA Division II softball poll, improved to 32-10 and 20-3. The Lady Wildcats split with the Lady Bulldogs in a previous meeting played March 26 in Poplarville. Gulf Coast won the first game of the twin bill 11-1 in six innings, while the Pearl River were 4-2 victors in the second game. Jones County, which split with Copiah-Lincoln 1-0 (win) and 7-2 (loss) in Wesson Tuesday, is second in the South Division at 15-7; while East Central, which swept Southwest Mississippi 8-0 and 6-3 Tuesday in Decatur, is third at 14-7. MGCCC and ECCC still eye a make-up game after the nightcap contest of their March 8 doubleheader in Perkinston was rained out. Gulf Coast won the first game of that twin bill 5-2. The top four finishers in the MACJC North and South divisions earn berths in the state tournament. In Tuesday first game, PRCC Brandy Rester of Poplarville High belted a lead off single in the top of the first inning with Jordan Adams of DIberville High following suit with a base an out later, but both were left stranded at first and second when Heather Hester of Hancock County High hit into a double play. The Lady Bulldogs answered with a solo run in the bottom of the frame when Courtney Fairley smacked a two-out double down the third-base line and scored when Kristen Albritton reached on an error. Fairley stole third before PRCC starter Sheila Hall of Dutchtown (La.) High walked Kayla Herbert, but Mariha Partman grounded to third to end the inning. From that point, Pearl River would go three up, three down for the next four innings. In the top of the sixth, lead off Lacey Freeman of Forrest County AHS reached when she was belted by a pitch; while in the top of the seventh, Hester cracked a one-out single and Ashley Graeter of Poplarville High reached on a fielder choice. All told, the Lady Wildcats managed only five base runners the entire game. In the bottom of the second, Hall retired two straight before Taylor Bryan reached on an error and Katy White followed with a single to left field; setting the stage for Courtney Moore RBI double to right to make it 2-0 before Fairley lined to third to end the inning. In the bottom of the fourth, Bryan led off with a walk, ran to third off White ensuing base hit, and scored off Fairley sacrifice to right field an out later to make it 3-0. Albritton then singled and she and White moved to second and third on a passed ball before Herbert fouled out to end the inning. Gulf Coast scored its final run in the bottom of the fifth when Partman singled up the middle, moved to second on a passed ball, and scored off Leslie Williams up-the-middle base hit before Hall retired two straight to end the inning. Starter Bayleigh Babin (15-4) got the win in going the distance, giving up three hits, striking out one, and hitting a batter; while Hall (11-9) got the loss. She also went the distance, giving up nine hits, striking out two, and walking two. Adams, Hester, and Rester all singled for Pearl River; while White led MGCCC at the plate with a pair of singles. Fairley (one RBI) and Moore (one RBI) both doubled, while Albritton (one RBI), Ciera DeRoche, Bryan, Partman, and Williams (one RBI) all had base hits. The Lady Wildcats committed three errors in the game to the Lady Bulldogs none. In the second game, Gulf Coast scored two in the bottom of the first when Fairley smacked a one-out single and scored off Herbert ensuing double to right center field. An out later, Amanda Fuller singled in Herbert to make it 2-0. PRCC starter Hester then walked Amber Carpenter, but Madison Tiblier grounded to short to end the inning. Graeter managed a one-out single in the top of the second, while Gulf Coast managed a base runner in the bottom of the inning via a Bryan walk. Rester cracked a two-out single to left field in the bottom of the third, while Partman also singled to left in the bottom of the frame. After Pearl River went three up, three down in the top of the fourth, the Lady Bulldogs padded their lead in the bottom of the inning when Tiblier led off with a double to left center and scored an out later when Williams reached on a fielder choice to make it 3-0. Hester then retired two straight to end the inning. Freeman led off the top of the fifth with a line-drive single to center before Albritton retired three straight. In the bottom of the frame, Herbert led off with a single to center field and Fuller doubled to left a strikeout later. With runners at second and third, Herbert scored off Amber Carpenter sacrifice to make ti 4-0 before Tiblier flew to right center for the final out. ETrareo Warren of Meridian High had a one-out single in the top of the sixth for Pearl River, while Gulf Coast went three up, three down in the bottom of the inning. Brittney Gary of Slidell (La.) High cracked a two-out single in the top of the final frame before Janessa Dedeaux of Poplarville High popped out to the pitcher to end the game. Albritton (15-6) got the win in going the distance, giving up four hits and striking out two; while Hester (7-1) got the loss. She also went the distance, giving up seven hits, striking out three, and walking two. Freeman, Gary, Graeter, Rester, and Warren all had base hits for Pearl River; while Fuller (one RBI) and Herbert (one RBI) both doubled and singled to lead Gulf Coast at the plate. Tiblier doubled and Fairley and Partman both singled. Carpenter and Williams each had an RBI for the Lady Bulldogs. Both teams played error free.
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