River splits at Gulf Coast

PERKINSTON Pearl River split with 12th-ranked Mississippi Gulf Coast in MACJC South Division softball action here Thursday with the Lady Wildcats 5-4 victory in the first game marking their first win over the Lady Bulldogs in Perkinston since the 2004 season. Gulf Coast prevailed in the nightcap game, which also ended with a 5-3 score. PRCC last defeated MGCCC on Ross-Smith Field in May 2004 with an 8-4 decision in a one-game playoff to decide the second-place finisher in that year South Division race. The Lady Wildcats are now 17-16 overall and 9-7 in division play following the split, while the Lady Bulldogs are 20-8 and 11-5. Pearl River pulled off the opening-game victory despite committing five defensive miscues, but pounded Gulf Coast starter Megan Lamb with a barrage off 11 hits. We were fortunate to come out of that one with a win, particularly after making so many errors, said 10th-year PRCC head coach Leigh White. It had been a long time since we won down there. Thursday twin bill was originally schedule for March 21, but was rescheduled due to a rain out. In the first game, things were scoreless for the first four innings before The River pushed three runs home in the top of the fifth. Hillary Dickens of Picayune High led off the frame with a single, while Shannon Brown of Petal High cracked a base hit to left field an out later. After Whitney Waits of Oak Grove High reached on a fielder choice, Dickens scored off a ground out to the pitcher by Janessa Dedeaux of Poplarville High. Heather Hester of Hancock County High followed with a two-run single to right center before Alyssa Graeter of Poplarville High popped to third for the final out. Gulf Coast loaded the bases in the bottom of the frame when lead off Breanna Desporte reached on an error, Lea Kittrell walked an out later, and Lamb cracked a two-out single only to see Kristin Albritton hit into a force out at second to end the inning. The Lady Wildcats padded their lead in the top of the sixth when Neely McCrary of Petal High led off with a double to left center and Dickens doubled McCrary home to make it 4-0 an out later. After ETrareo Warren of Meridian High flew out to left center, Brown pushed Dickens home with an up-the-middle base hit. Brown stole second before Waits grounded to second for the final out. The Lady Bulldogs went three up, three down in the bottom of the inning. In the top of the seventh, Dedeaux and Hester led off with back-to-back singles before Graeter struck out and McCrary hit into a double play. Gulf Coast made it interesting in the bottom of the frame. Lead off Desporte doubled off the left field wall before starting pitcher Hester walked Courtney Moore and Kittrell to load the bases. Desporte scored off Katy White ground out to second before Moore scored a second run off a passed ball. After Hester struck out Lamb, Albritton singled in Kittrell to make it 5-3, while Julie Butler followed with a double. With runners at second and third, Shajuan Buckley flew out to left to end the game. Hester (6-3) got the mound win in going the distance, giving up six hits, striking out three, and walking three; while Lamb (10-3) picked up the loss. She also pitched the distance, striking out four. Hester paced the Lady Wildcats at the plate with three base hits (one RBI), while Dickens doubled and singled (one RBI), Brown (one RBI) and Waits had two base hits each, McCrary doubled, and Dedeaux (one RBI) and Graeter both singled. Butler and Desporte both doubled for the Lady Bulldogs, while Albritton (one RBI), Kittrell, Lamb, and Courtney Moore all had base hits. White had an RBI. Gulf Coast committed two errors in the contest. In the nightcap game, PRCC went up 1-0 in the first when Waits led off with a walk, moved to second off Dedeaux sacrifice bunt, and scored a strike out later off Graeter double. MGCCC starter Fallon Dyle then Kd Brittany LeBlanc out of North Vermillion High in Lafayette, La., for the final out. The Lady Bulldogs managed a base runner in the bottom of the inning off a two-out single by Courtney Moore, while the Lady Wildcats saw Warren walk in the top of the second, but in the bottom of the frame, Gulf Coast unleashed a five-run barrage. Lead off Lamb singled to left, Julie Butler reached on a fielder choice, then back-to-back base hits by Buckley and Desporte tied it up at 1-1. The Lady Bulldogs managed two more back-to-back singles by Britton Moore and Kittrell to push in two more run before White reached on a fielder choice and Courtney Moore reached on an error for another run to make it 4-1. Albritton ensuing RBI single to right field scored Gulf Coast final run of the game before Lamb singled to left and Courtney Moore was nailed at home to end the inning. The third and fourth innings went scoreless, but PRCC cut MGCCC lead to two in the top of the fifth. Warren got things started with a one-out single to right, Brown outran a bunt for a base hit, and the duo moved to second and third off Waits ground out to the pitcher. Warren scored off a passed ball before Dedeaux crushed an RBI double. Hester then grounded to third for the final out. Gulf Coast went three up, three down in the bottom of the inning, as did Pearl River in the top of the sixth. The Lady Bulldogs managed a base runner off White two-out single in the bottom of the sixth, while Dyle retired three straight in the seventh to ice the victory. Dyle (9-4) got the win in going the distance, giving up five hits, striking out three, and walking two; while LeBlanc (4-6) got the loss. She also pitched the distance, giving up 11 hits and striking out two. Graeter paced Pearl River with two doubles (one RBI), while Dedeaux had an RBI double and White and Warren both had base hits. Albritton (one RBI), Lamb, and Britton Moore (one RBI) had two singles a piece, while Buckley, Desporte (one RBI), Kittrell (one RBI), Courtney Moore (one RBI), and White all had base hits. Pearl River committed two errors in the game to Gulf Coast none. The two teams eye a rematch in Poplarville Saturday with a 12 noon starting time in the Lady Wildcats home finale before Pearl River wraps its regular season Tuesday at Copiah-Lincoln in Wesson (3 p.m. doubleheader) and at Jones County Friday, April 20 (4 p.m. doubleheader). The top four finishers in the MACJC North and South divisions earn berths in April 26-28''s MACJC State Tournament set for North champ Itawamba CC in Fulton. At present, fifth-ranked Jones County leads the South at 14-2, followed by Gulf Coast, East Central at 10-6, and Pearl River. Copiah-Lincoln is 7-11, while Hinds and Southwest Mississippi are both 4-14.

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