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EMCC Lady Lions fall 9-1 and 4-3 in Wednesday softball doubleheader action at Mississippi Gulf Coast
 February 21, 2013

PERKINSTON – A valiant road effort came up a bit short Wednesday afternoon for the East Mississippi Community College softball team, as the Lady Lions dropped a tough 4-3 nightcap decision to Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College after being run-ruled 9-1 in the opening game played at Ross-Smith Softball Field.            

Featuring a pitchers’ duel between EMCC freshman Kendra Wilson and Gulf Coast’s Reina Baluja, a scoreless tie was broken in the nightcap when both teams scored twice in the third inning.  In the top half of the inning, an infield throwing error by the Lady Bulldogs allowed Haley Tutor to reach base with one out.  Corey Dawkins’ first of two singles of the game sent Tutor around to score.  Two batters later, Jade Albritton stroked a two-out double to center field to score Dawkins and put the visitors on top 2-0.

An infield error by EMCC in the bottom of the third also jump-started MGCCC’s two-run inning.  A double-steal scored Morgan Fairley, who opened the frame reaching on the miscue.  Lea Kittrell followed Shalaria Pickens’ bunt single with a run-scoring double to left field to knot the score at 2-2.

The Lady Lions manufactured a run in the fifth to take a 3-2 lead.  A lead-off walk to Tutor and another single by Dawkins set the table for Halie Green’s sacrifice bunt back to the pitcher.  With both runners in scoring position, Albritton’s grounder to second brought home Tutor for her second RBI of the game.

The one-run lead was preserved by stout EMCC defense in the fifth and sixth frames.  Wilson stranded two runners in scoring position in the fifth by getting Julie Butler to ground out to second base.  The Lady Lions’ defensive prowess was on display in the sixth with two Gulf Coast runners being thrown out at home plate.  First, pinch-runner Shakontinal Bender stole second and advanced to third on a catching error on the throw to second.  On Ashley Hickman’s subsequent grounder to Green at first base, Bender was tagged out at the plate.  A double by Fairley down the right-field line put runners on second and third with one out.  With the potential tying and go-ahead runs in scoring position, pinch-hitter Taylor Norris’ line drive to right field was gloved by Albritton, who then fired the ball to the plate to double-up Hickman trying to score from third.

However, the home-standing Lady Bulldogs did manage to come through the following inning when Wilson ran into some one-out trouble in the bottom of the seventh.  Kittrell’s second double of the game was followed by EMCC’s third error of the contest along with a passed ball and wild pitch.  With Amelia LaVergne in relief of Wilson in the circle, MGCCC’s Danielle Craft reached on a walk.  EMCC managed one more defensive gem as Butler’s grounder to short was fielded by Taylor Hackney, who forced Emily Davis out at third base for the second out of the inning.  That’s when Baluja helped her own cause as the winning pitcher by singling to right-center field to score pinch-runner Catherine Campbell and pull out the 4-3 victory for the home team.

Wilson, a freshman right-hander from Millport, Ala., pitched well for the Lady Lions in the no-decision.  The former standout at South Lamar High School scattered eight hits, with seven strikeouts and three walks, over 6.1 innings of work.  LaVergne absorbed her first loss in three decisions on the year, though the Rayne, La., native only faced three batters.

EMCC also scored first in the opener, as Green’s single to right-center scored Tutor, who led off the doubleheader with a walk and advanced on Dawkins’ first of three singles on the day.  The Lady Bulldogs tied the game at 1-1 in the third on Davis’ solo home run off LaVergne, who started the first game before giving way to Green to begin the fourth inning.   

As Davis settled down in the circle for Gulf Coast, the Lady Lions could only manage a fourth-inning, lead-off single by Meri Morgan Fortune off the Newton County High School product over the final four innings.  Meanwhile, the Lady Bulldogs put up four runs in the fourth and sixth innings off Green, now 2-2 on the season, en route to the run-rule victory. 

With Friday’s scheduled home softball doubleheader against Southwest Mississippi Community College postponed until March 4th due to forecasted rain over the next couple of days, head coach Kyndall White’s 4-4 EMCC Lady Lions will next play at Copiah-Lincoln Community College this coming Monday (Feb. 25) in a 1 p.m. doubleheader to be played in Wesson.

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