POPLARVILLE Pearl River Lady Wildcats split with East Central in MACJC South Division doubleheader softball action here Saturday, falling to the Lady Warriors 3-0 before rebounding with a 2-0 shutout win in the nightcap game. PRCC, the reigning MACJC state champion, is now 19-17 overall and 11-9 in division play, while the Lady Warriors are 25-11 and 12-7. The River split with East Central in a previous doubleheader played March 22 in Decatur. The Lady Warriors won the first game of the twin bill 5-1, while the Lady Wildcats were 6-5 victors in the second game. Mississippi Gulf Coast (30-10, 18-3) clinched the South Division title and hosting rights to April 28-29''s MACJC State Tournament with its 3-0, 9-2 sweep over Southwest Mississippi in Summit Saturday. Jones County (30-10, 14-6) is in second place followed by East Central and Pearl River, respectively. The Lady Wildcats visit Gulf Coast Tuesday in a critical 3 p.m. doubleheader before wrapping their regular season Friday at Jones in a 3 p.m. twin bill. The top four finishers in the MACJC North and South divisions earn berths in the state tournament. In Saturday first game, Brandy Rester of Poplarville High belted a lead off double in the bottom of the first inning, but was left stranded at third. In the bottom of the second, the Lady Wildcats loaded the bases off a one-out single by Brittney Gary of Slidell (La.) High followed by Janessa Dedeaux of Poplarville High and Lacey Freeman of Forrest County AHS reaching on back-to-back errors, but failed to push a run home. In the top of the third, East Central scored all of its three runs when lead off Lauren Nichols singled, Kasie Buckley walked, and Summer Alexander followed with a three-run homer. Starting pitcher Taylor Bailey (20-5) got the win in going the distance, giving up four hits, striking out four, and walking one; while starter Heather Hester of Hancock County High got the loss. She also went the distance, giving up four hits, striking out five, and walking two. Nichols led ECCC at the plate with a pair of singles, while Alexander homered and Buckley singled. Rester had two base hits for PRCC, while Jordan Adams of DIberville High and Gary both singled. East Central played error free, while Pearl River had two defensive miscues. In the nightcap game, the Lady Wildcats scored all of their runs in the bottom of the first. Rester led off with a single, moved to second off a sacrifice by ETrareo Warren of Meridian High before scoring off Adams double. Adams moved to third off a sacrifice by Hester before scoring off a single by Alyssa Graeter of Poplarville High. Starter Sheila Hall (11-7) of Dutchtown (La.) High got the win in going the distance, giving up four hits, striking out two, and walking three; while Bailey (20-6) got the loss. She also started and went the distance, giving up seven hits. Bailey, Buckley, Abbie Joiner, and Chelsea Jones all singled for the Lady Warriors, while Rester paced PRCC with a double and two singles. Adams doubled (one RBI) and Gary, Graeter (one RBI), and Warren all had base hits. Pearl River committed one error in the game to East Central none. PRCC is the reigning MACJC state champion.
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