PERKINSTON The reigning MACJC state champion Pearl River Lady Wildcats are two wins away from repeating their historical feat of a year ago.South No. 4 seed PRCC canned North No. 1 East Mississippi 6-4 Thursday in opening-round action of the MACJC State Tournament underway at South No. 1 Mississippi Gulf Coast, despite committing a whopping four errors including three in the fifth inning to earn a berth in Friday semi-final round against South No. 2 East Central.ECCC shut out North No. 3 Northwest Mississippi 4-0 in the tournament opening game Thursday.”Weve still got a long road ahead of us and we were definitely fortunate to pull this one out,” said ninth-year Lady Wildcat head coach Leigh White. “We managed to get a pretty comfortable (four-run) lead, then wound up giving them four runs over a two-inning stretch and they tied it up.”Weve just got to settle down and play ball. If we can do that and eliminate errors, well be okay from here on out.”After a scoreless first inning where PRCC left runners stranded at first and second and EMCC had a runner perched at second, the Lady Wildcats scored the game first run in the top of the second.Lacey Freeman of Forrest County AHS led off with a walk, then Janessa Dedeaux of Poplarville High reached after being belted by a pitch from East Miss starter Amy Johnson. Paris Redd of Greene County High followed with a single to load the bases and Brandy Rester of Poplarville High, who went four-for-four on the afternoon, belted an bloop RBI single to left to make it 1-0.Jordan Adams of DIberville High then reached on a fielder choice before Heather Hester of Hancock County High grounded to short for the final out.EMCC left runners at first and third in the bottom of the frame when Cory Roberson blooped a one-out single to left and moved to third off Nashedra Barry. single to center field an out later. Courtney Castleberry grounded out to the pitcher to end the inning.After a scoreless third, Janessa Dedeaux of Poplarville High led off the top of the fourth with a double to left center field and scored off Rester double through short two outs later. Adams then crushed a two-run homer over the left field fence to make it 4-0 before Hester flew to right for the final out.East Miss answered with a pair of runs in the bottom of the frame when Roberson drew a one-out walk and Leigh Ellen Barefield followed with a double off the left field wall. That set the stage for Barry two-run single off the left field wall before Castleberry fouled out and Cayla Coleman grounded to short to end the inning.After The River went three up, three down in the top of the fifth, the Lady Lions tied it up in the bottom of the inning.Mallory Pace, Jessie Clark, and Roberson loaded the bases off three PRCC defensive miscues and Barefield answered with a two-run double off the left field wall to knot things up at 4-4. PRCC hurler Hester then intentionally walked Barry to reload the bases and nine-hole batter Castleberry grounded to second to end the inning.The Lady Wildcats went up for good in the top of the sixth. After lead off Dedeaux popped out, Redd and Warren singled before Rester outran an bunt to first to load the corners. Adams followed with a two-run single to center to make it 6-4 before Hester popped out and Ashley Graeter of Poplarville High flew to center for the final outBoth sides went three up, three down the rest of the way.Hester (9-11) picked up the win in going the distance, giving up eight hits, striking out one, and walking two; while Johnson also went the distance. She gave up 11 hits, struck out three, walked one, and hit a batter.Rester paced Pearl River at the plate with a double and three singles (two RBIs), while Adams homered and had two singles (four RBIs). Redd had two base hits, Dedeaux doubled, and Warren singled.Barefield (one RBI), Barry (two RBIs), and Pace topped East Miss with two singles a piece; while Roberson and DeShuni Sanders both had base hits. Clark had an RBI for the Lady Lions.The loss ended EMCC season, while PRCC also earned a berth in May 5-7''s Region 23 Tournament in Clinton with the victory.Results of Thursday North No. 2 Itawamba vs. South No. 3 Jones County (4 p.m.) and South No. 1 Mississippi Gulf Coast vs. North No. 4 Northeast Mississippi (6 p.m.) contests on the opposite side of the tournament bracket were unavailable.
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