River nabs MACJC tournament semi-final berth via 4-3 victory over North champ Itawamba

FULTON Pearl River Lady Wildcats smacked North No. 1 Itawamba with a 4-3 come-from-behind victory in MACJC State Tournament quarter-final softball action here Thursday to cop a berth in Friday semi-finals, as well as next week Region 23 Tournament.PRCC, which won the 2010 state championship on the same field at Itawamba CC in Fulton, improved to 21-21 overall with Thursday win; while the host Lady Indians dropped to 33-11.The Lady Wildcats cracked 12 hits en route to the victory and will face North No. 3 Northeast Mississippi (22-14) Friday in the semi-finals. NEMCC eliminated South No. 2 Mississippi Gulf Coast (24-13) with a 3-1 win in Thursday nightcap contest.North No. 2 Northwest Mississippi (30-9) ended South No. 3 East Central (29-14) season with a 4-3 victory to open Thursday tournament action, while South No. 1 and fifth-ranked Jones County (37-7) pounded North No. 4 East Mississippi (18-24) 9-1 to bring the Lady Lions season to a close.JCJC will face NWCC to kick off Friday play at 12 noon followed by the PRCC-NEMCC contest at 2 p.m. The winners of those two match ups face off in the MACJC title bout at 5 p.m.”We played pretty well against a good (Itawamba) team and. I cant say enough about our effort,” said 10th-year Lady Wildcat head coach Leigh White. “Who knows, we pulled it (championship) off in 2010…we might do it again this year.”The Lady Wildcats left runners stranded at first and third in the top of the second when Hillary Dickens of Picayune High cracked a one-out, up-the-middle single and starting pitcher Brittany LeBlanc out of North Vermillion High in Lafayette, La., reached on a fielder choice with Dickens perched safely at second off an ICC throwing error.Morghan Cuevas of Purvis High followed with a base hit to center, but Dickens was nailed at home before ETrareo Warren grounded to first for the final out.ICC went up 1-0 in the bottom of the fourth when Anna Holley crushed a double off the left field fence, but courtesy runner Lauren Lewis was ruled out via interference when she collided with PRCC shortstop Alyssa Graeter of Poplarville High when Jessi Patterson reached on a fielder choice. Holly Schilicht then outran a bunt for a base hits before Lindsey Richardson singled in Patterson to make it 1-0.Ashley Camp reached on a fielder choice with a force out at third, then Courtney Dawson flew out to left to end the inning.Pearl River tied it up in the top of the fifth when Cuevas led off with a single through short, then Warren outran a bunt for a base hit before Shannon Brown of Petal High reached on a fielder choice. After Whitney Waits of Oak Grove High struck out, Cuevas scored on a passed ball before Janessa Dedeaux was Kd for the final out.In the bottom of the sixth, Patterson belted a solo homer over the left field fence to make it 2-1 ICC, but PRCC rallied for three in the top of the seventh.Warren got The River rolling when she outran a bunt for a one-out base hit and Brown also bunted safely and wound up at second base. Waits bunted safely to push Warren home to tie it up, while Dedeaux followed suit for a Brown score to regain the lead. After Heather Hester of Hancock County High lined a single to center to load the bases, Graeter sacrificed Waits home to make it 4-2. Dickens followed by blooping a single to left field before LeBlanc lined to third for the final out.Dawson led off the bottom of the frame with a solo homer over the center field fence, while Kami Roberts was hit with a pitch two outs later before Holley singled through short. LeBlanc then intentionally walked Patterson to load the bases and Schlicht lined out to left field to end the game.LeBlanc (5-8) got the win in going the distance, giving up six hits, striking out three, walking two, and hitting a bater; while Kristyn Akins got the loss. She also pitched the distance, giving up 12 hits and striking out four.Dickens led the Lady Wildcats with three base hits, while Cuevas and Waits (one RBI) had two singles each. Brown, Dedeaux (one RBI), Graeter (one RBI), Hester, and Warren all has base hits.Holley led the Lady Indians at the plate with a double and a single, while Dawson (one RBI) and Patterson (one RBI) both homered and Holly Schlicht singled. Lindsey Richardson had an RBI.With the win, Pearl River also copped a berth in next week Region 23 Tournament in Clinton along with Jones County, Itawamba, LSU-Eunice, Northwest Mississippi, and Northeast Mississippi. JCJC and ICC get automatic berths due to their winning the South and North division titles, respectively.

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