POPLARVILLE Pearl River Community College was victimized by eight base on balls and fell to East Central 3-1 in the first game of a softball doubleheader here Tuesday before bouncing back with a 10-hit, 8-0 blowout (five innings) for its first MACJC South Division victory in the nightcap game of the twin bill. Sophomore starter Heather Hester of Hancock County High gave up only five hits and struck out eight in the setback, but the visiting Lady Warriors eight free base runners probed the difference in the first game. In addition, Hester shined at the plate, finishing the day with home runs in both contests. ECCC stands at 17-6 overall and 5-1 in division play after the split, while PRCC is 5-10 and 1-3. In the first game, the Lady Warriors went up 2-0 in the top of the second inning when lead off batters Kaetlen Brown and Dakota Vowell drew base on balls before Lajoya Griffin reached on a fielder choice. Haelie Allen ensuing base hit loaded the bases and Vowell scored the game first run when Marlee Massey reached on a fielder choice. With runners at first and second, a wild pick off throw scooted down the third-base line and Griffin scored before Hester Kd Kelsi Watson for the final out. Alyssa Graeter of Poplarville High smacked a one-out double to left center in the bottom of the inning, but was left stranded at third when Amanda Emerson of Sumrall High fouled out and Christina Hart out of Northshore High in Slidell, La., struck out to end the inning. After a scoreless third, ECCC managed a base runner in the fourth when Griffin was belted by a pitch after Vowell struck out. Griffin stole second and third before back-to-back pop outs ended the threat. Hester led off the bottom of the inning with her towering homer over the left center field fence, but Lady Warrior starter Tenna Patterson ended the inning with three straight ground outs. The fifth went scoreless, but East Central scored the game final run in the sixth when Brown led off with a single to center field and Griffin walked an out later. Brown scored off Allen base hit to center before Massey reached on a fielder choice and Kelsi Watson flew to center for the final out. Hester reached on a two-out error in the bottom of the frame before Neely McCrary of Petal High flew out to left to end the inning. Hester struck out two straight to open the seventh before A.J. Peeler reached second on a throwing error. Brown then flew out to right field before Patterson retired three straight in the bottom of the inning to end the game. Patterson (8-2) got the win in going the distance, giving up three hits and striking out three, while Hester, who also went the distance, dropped to 2-2. Allen finished the game with two singles, while Brown, Massey, and Brittany Pounders all had base hits. Besides Hester and Graeter, Whitney Waits of Oak Grove High singled for The River. Each team committed one error in the division battle. In the nightcap, PRCC went up 3-0 in the bottom of the first when lead off Waits outran a bunt for a base hit and Graeter doubled two outs later. That set the stage for a three-run homer by starting pitcher Brittany LeBlanc out of North Vermillion High in Lafayette, La. The second and third went scoreless, but East Central put two on in the fourth when Pounders led off with a walk and Peeler singled before LeBlanc retired three straight. In the bottom of the inning, Hart drew a lead off walk, moved to second when ETrareo Warren of Meridian High outran a bunt for a base it, and Waits followed with an two-run single to make it 5-0. An out later, Hester bashed a two-run homer, again out of left center, to make it 7-0 before Graeter reached on and error. Lady Warrior starter Kaetlen Brown then retired LeBlanc and Morghan Cuevas of Purvis High to end the inning. Allen drew a base on balls to lead off the seventh before ground outs by Massey and Watson and Haylee Roberts flew out, while PRCC ended the game via the eight-run rule in the bottom of the inning. Shalyn Stevens of Picayune High got The River rolling with a one-out walk, moved to second off Warren ground out, and scored off Waits fourth single to end the game. LeBlanc (3-4) picked up the win in going the distance, giving up two hits, striking out four, and walking four; while Brown (3-3) got the loss. She also went the distance, giving up 10 hits, striking out four, and walking four. Allen and Peeler had base hits for East Central, while Waits paced the Lady Wildcats with four singles. In addition, Warren had two base hits, Hester and LeBlanc homered, Graeter doubled, and Cuevas singled. PRCC played error-free, while ECCC had one defensive miscue. Pearl River and East Central eye MACJC South Division rematches Wednesday, April 4, when the Lady Warriors play host in Decatur (2 p.m. doubleheader). PRCC returns to action when it hosts South Division rival Southwest Mississippi Friday for a 3 p.m. doubleheader in Lady Wildcat Stadium before Baton Rouge CC (La.) visits Monday for a twin bill at the starting time.
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