POPLARVILLE Pearl River evened its MACJC South Division record to 5-5 here Thursday after sweeping a softball doubleheader against Southwest Mississippi with 11-2 and 12-0 (five innings) victories. The host Lady Wildcats improved to 13-14 overall with the win, while the Lady Bears dropped to 4-18 and 2-10 in the division. The sweep was critical for PRCC in its quest to grab a berth in the upcoming MACJC State Tournament set for April 26-28. The top four finishers in the North and South division earn playoff spot in the event. In the first game, Southwest went up 1-0 in the top of the first inning when lead off Brooke Szigeti reached on an error and scored off twin sister Mandy double. After Tipheri Grimes fouled out, Camden Graham singled with a hard-hit grounder through short before Emily Booth hit into a double play. Whitney Waits of Oak Grove High led off the bottom of the frame with a bloop double to left, stole third two outs later, but was left stranded when Alyssa Graeter of Poplarville High grounded to third to end the inning. After a scoreless second, the Lady Bears padded their lead to 2-0 in the third with a solo run off back-to-back, two-out doubles by Grimes and Graham before Booth flied to left for the final out. The River cut SMCC lead to one in the bottom of the inning when lead off Shannon Brown of Petal High lined a single down the third-base line, moved to second off Waits sacrifice bunt, and scored off a bloop single to left by Heather Hester of Hancock County High. Graeter then reached when she was hit by a pitch and she and Hester advanced to second and third off a passed ball before Christina Hart out of Northshore High in Slidell (La.) High grounded to short to end the inning. Things were scoreless for the next one-and-a-half innings, but Pearl River took the lead for good in the bottom of the fifth. Waits lead off with an infield single to third, Janessa Dedeaux of Poplarville High followed with a walk, and Waits scored off Graeter double to left an out later to knot things at 2-2. Morghan Cuevas of Purvis High then reached on a bunt, scoring Dedeaux to take the lead. With runners at first and third, Neely McCrary of Petal High scored Graeter off a ground out to second before Hillary Dickens of Picayune High smacked an RBI blooper single to left field to make it 5-2. ETrareo Warren of Meridian High flew out to left to end the inning. After Southwest went scoreless in the top of the sixth, Pearl River added three in the bottom of the inning when Brown led off with a base hit, stole second, moved to third off Waits sac bunt, and scored off Dedeaux single. After Hester walked and Graeter struck out, Dedeaux scored off Hart single to center field, Hester crossed home plate off McCrary line-drive single over short to make it 8-2. Dickens struck out to end the inning. Mound starter McCrary gave up singles to Allen and Mandy Szigeti that sandwiched two Ks in the top of the seventh before striking out Grimes to end the game. McCrary (4-5) picked up the win in going the distance, giving up eight hits, striking out four, and hitting a batter; while Lady Bear starter Rachel Smith (4-11) got the loss. She also pitched the distance, giving up 11 hits, striking out six, walking four, and hitting one batter. Graham led SMCC at the plate with a double and two singles (one RBI), while Mandy Szigeti doubled and singled (one RBI), Grimes doubled, and Allen and Aseye Attipoe both had base hits. Waits paced PRCC offensively with a double and a single, while Brown had two singles, Graeter doubled (one RBI), and Cuevas (one RBI), Dedeaux (one RBI), Dickens (one RBI), Hart (one RBI), Hester (one RBI), and McCrary (one RBI) all had base hits. The Lady Wildcats committed two errors in the game, while the Lady Bears played error-free. Pearl River won the nightcap game in five innings via the eight-run rule and cranked things up in the bottom of the first with a four-run effort. After Southwest went three up, three down to open the contest, Waits led off the bottom of the first with an up-the-middle base hit, stole second, and scored off Hester single. After Hester moved to second off a passed ball and stole third, Graeter cracked an RBI single down the first-base line. She stole second before moving to third off a ground out by Brittany LeBlanc out of North Vermillion High in Lafayette, La. Hart followed with a base on balls, setting the stage for a two-run triple to right center by Amanda Emerson of Sumrall High to make it 4-0. After Warren walked, Brown popped out to short to end the inning. Again SMCC went three up, three down in the second, while PRCC added four more runs in the bottom of the frame. Waits led off with a triple to right, Dedeaux singled and stole second before Graeter smacked a two-run base hit to center an out later. Graeter stole second before LeBlanc singled to left field and after LeBlanc stole second, Hart two-run single made it 8-0. An out later, Warren walked, but Brown popped out to short to end the inning. Lady Wildcat pitcher LeBlanc again retired three straight in the top of the third, while Waits led off the bottom of the frame with a single and scored off Dedeaux ensuing double to left. Dedeaux was nailed at third before Hester singled, Graeter reached on a fielder choice, and LeBlanc lined to third for the final out. Brooke Szigeti lead off double in the top of the fourth was Southwest only hit of the game before LeBlanc retired three straight. In the bottom of the inning, Dickens and Ariel Russell of DIberville High led off with base hits to left field. After Warren lined out to short, Dickens scored and Russell moved to third off a passed ball. Brown followed with a strike out, while Waits singled in Russell and Dedeaux followed with an RBI double to left to make it 12-0. Hester flew out to left to end the inning. The Lady Bears went three up, three down for the fourth time in the top of the fifth to end the game via the eight-run rule. Both teams played error-free. LeBlanc (4-5) got the one-hit win in going the five-inning distance, striking out three; while Emily Booth (0-3) got the loss. She gave up 15 hits, struck out one, and walked three. Waits went four-for-four with a triple and three singles (one RBI) to lead the Lady Wildcats, while Dedeaux had two doubles and a single (two RBIs). Graeter (two RBIs) and Hester (one RBI) had two singles each, while Emerson tripled (two RBIs) and Dickens, Hart, and Russell all had base hits. Thursday doubleheader was originally scheduled for March 9, but was rescheduled due to rain out. Pearl River and Southwest eye a division rematch when the Lady Bears play host Tuesday, April 10, in Summit. The Lady Wildcats return to action Friday when Hinds visits Friday for a 3 p.m. division doubleheader before division foe East Central plays host Wednesday with a 3 p.m. twin bill in Decatur.
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