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 March 19, 2014

Booneville, Miss. – Chelsea Buntin did not realize until after Wednesday’s contest was over that she had etched her name into the storied Northeast Mississippi Community College softball record book forever.

Buntin tossed a complete game no-hitter for the Tigers in a 15-0, run-rule shortened victory over Coahoma Community College in the nightcap of a Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC) North Division doubleheader at David Carnell Memorial Field.

The freshman from Glen struck out four and allowed just one base runner in the entire matchup when Kendall Jenkins reached on a fielding error in the third inning.

“When I’m out there pitching, I don’t really thing about stuff like that,” said Buntin. “Everything was working pretty good today I thought. This feels great, it really does.”

The right-hander threw just 50 pitches, 30 of them strikes, in the four-inning affair. Buntin (5-8) also started the first game of the afternoon against the visiting Tigers, a 17-1 triumph by Northeast, and earned the win in both contests.

“She came out and competed,” said Northeast head coach Jody Long. “She felt like she had the team on her shoulders today. She kind of settled down and did a good job.”

The Tigers held a 1-0 lead after two frames in the second matchup after Lacy Blakney doubled and courtesy runner Mirah Terry scored on a wild pitch.

Northeast turned the momentum in the third after two big plays. Marla Rudd made the first with a sharp line drive over pitcher’s head and under the centerfielder’s glove.

The speedy Rudd raced her way around the bases and touched home plate on the three-base error to extend the Tigers’ advantage to 2-0.

Five batters later, Whittney Gee connected on a two-run home run over the left-centerfield wall.  The first long ball of Gee’s collegiate career put Northeast ahead 5-0 after three.

A combination of big hits throughout the batting order helped the Tigers wrap up the sweep early in the next frame. Audrey Goss plated Sydney Martin on her first hit in a Northeast uniform, a RBI double to left field, to get the inning started.

Bre Agnew and Buntin put together back-to-back run scoring singles that made the score 9-0 in favor of the Tigers (9-19, 4-4).

Abigail Rish concluded an amazing day at the ballpark with a hit that plated Agnew and Terry. Rish, an East Webster High School product, was a combined 4 for 5 in the pair of matchups with two runs scored and six RBIs.

“I really think that as a team we just pulled together and got those runs in,” said Rish. “I kept my hands through the ball and stayed focused for my team.”

Overall, Northeast sent twelve ladies to the plate and scored ten runs on eight hits and three walks in the fourth before the game was called. Goss and Rudd also had late RBI singles.

Coahoma (0-10, 0-8) took an early 1-0 lead in the opener after Amanda Elliott walked and came home on a throwing error.

But the home standing Tigers did not leave the decision in doubt for very long after plating eight runs in the bottom of the first. Gee took a bases loaded walk and Blakney’s sacrifice fly was dropped to account for the initial three scores.

Rudd, Rish and Buntin followed with RBI singles to quickly widen Northeast’s advantage to 8-1.

The Tigers added five more runs over the next two innings off Coahoma’s Gabrielle Lee, who took the loss in both games. Rish had two run scoring hits while Agnew missed a homer by inches with a line drive off the top of the left field wall that turned into a double.

Gee took a page out of Agnew’s book and doubled off the wall in the fourth before a two-base error on a Blakney grounder tallied the final runs and closed the contest.

Buntin retired 17 straight batters at one point and sat down 21 of the final 22 Tigers that she faced. She totaled ten strikeouts compared to just one walk in the doubleheader.

Northeast compiled 26 hits over a span of eight innings with Agnew, Rish and Rudd notching four apiece. Rudd, a Batesville native, and Vardaman’s Gee also had four RBIs each.

“Some kids were put into some positions that they haven’t been in,” said Long. “We came in and put the ball in play and finally capitalized on somebody else’s mistakes. I’m really proud for these kids.”

The Tigers continue MACJC North Division play on Saturday, March 22 with a trip to Northwest Mississippi Community College. First pitch is scheduled for noon in Senatobia.

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