River sweeps Southwest in South Division opener

POPLARVILLE — Pearl River’s Lady Wildcats extended their winning streak to seven here in Saturday’s annual Cancer (Pink Game) Awareness Day by crushing Southwest Mississippi in both team’s MACJC South Division openers.
            PRCC was a 7-3 winner in the first game before bouncing back with a lopsided 10-0 victory in five innings in the nightcap behind a superb four-hit performance by sophomore hurler Brittany LeBlanc.
            Pearl River improved to 11-6 overall and 2-0 in division play with the sweep, while SMCC dropped to 10-10 and 0-2.
            In the first game, the visiting Lady Bears went up 1-0 in the top of the opening inning when Breana Harper led off with a single and scored two outs later off Heather Magee’s base hit.
            The Lady Wildcats answered with two in the bottom of the frame when Whitney Waits led off with an up-the-middle base hit, stole second, and scored when Emily Jackson reached on the first of four SMCC errors, winding up at second. After Heather Boutwell struck out, Kelsea Lewis’ single to right scored Jackson before Courtney Warr grounded out to third to end the inning.
            After a scoreless second, Southwest tied it up in the top of the third when lead off Margaret McLaurin singled and scored off two batter Harper’s double to left field. Harper was nailed in a rundown between second and third before Kristen Gekler hit into a double play.
            The River left runners at second and third in the bottom of the inning off a Boutwell single and Warr’s being belted by a pitch, while SMCC managed a single in the fourth.
            Pearl River took the lead for good in the bottom of the frame when Kaci Lantrip led off with a single, Waits reached on an error an out later, and the duo scored off Jackson’s single to left to make it 3-2. Boutwell followed with a walk, which prompted the mound exit of Magee for Miranda Smith who retired Lewis with a fly out to left to end the inning.
            After PRCC starter Neely McCrary walked Harper in the top of the fifth for the Lady Bears only base runner of the inning, Warr led off the bottom of the frame with a walk, moved to second off McCrary’s sacrifice bunt to set the stage for Lantrip’s two-run homer out of left field to make it 5-2. Micah Davis followed with a base hit, but was thrown out at second on an attempted steal before Waits flew out to left to end the inning.
            Southwest scored its final run in the top of the sixth off two singles, a fielder’s choice, and an RBI double by Mandie Szigeti; while Pearl River followed suit in the bottom of the inning when lead off Megan Scronce was hit by a pitch, Boutwell reached on a fielder’s choice an out later, and Lewis smashed a two-run homer over the left field fence to make it 7-3.
            McCrary gave up a lead off single in the top of the seventh, but struck out McLaurin and Harper before Harley Myers flew out to right to end the game.
            McCrary (3-3) got the win in going the distance, giving up seven hits, striking out five, and walking one; while Magee (0-1) got the loss. She pitched three-and-two-thirds, giving up six hits, striking out one, and walking one; while Smith went two-and-a-third, giving up three hits, striking out one, walking one, and hitting one batter.
            Chelsea Nette led the Lady Bears at the plate with a double and a single (one RBI), while Grace Bravata had two base hits, Szigeti doubled (one RBI), and Katie Allen and Magee (one RBI) both singled.
            Lantrip out of Terry High (two RBIs) and Lewis out of Oak Grove High (three RBIs) led the Lady Wildcats’ nine-hit attack with both belting home runs and singles, while Boutwell of Oak Grove High, Davis of Poplarville High, Jackson out of Theodore High in Mobile, Ala. (two RBIs), McCrary of Petal High, and Waits of Oak Grove High all singled.
            SMCC committed four errors in the game to PRCC’s two.
            In the nightcap game, Pearl River went up 4-0 in the bottom of the opening inning and never looked back.
            Waits led off the first with a single down the third-base line and moved to second off Jackson’s bunt single an out later. After a double steal, Boutwell walked to load the corners. Waits scored on a passed ball and Lewis crushed a three-run homer before starter Rachel Smith retired two straight to end the inning.
            Southwest left runners at second and third in the second, while LeBlanc recorded all three outs with Ks. Pearl River padded its lead with a solo run in the bottom of the frame when Davis cracked a one-out, line-drive double to left field and scored an out later off Scronce’s bloop single over third base. Jackson then reached after being belted by a pitch before Boutwell grounded out to short to end the inning.
            After a scoreless third, the Lady Wildcats went up 6-0 in the bottom of the fourth when Lantrip led off with a walk, Waits singled up the middle an out later, and Lantrip scored off Scronce’s sacrifice to left. Jackson popped out to short to end the inning.
            SMCC went three up, three down in the top of the fifth; while PRCC ended the game with three runs in the bottom of the frame via the eight-run rule. Boutwell led off with a walk, but was thrown out at second on an attempted steal before Lewis and Hillary Dickens of Picayune High drew back-to-back walks which saw Smith relieved by Kristen Gekler. Gekler immediately walked LeBlanc to load the bases before pushing a seventh run home when Lantrip walked. Davis followed with a three-run double to end the game.
            LeBlanc (5-1), a sophomore out of North Vermillion High in Maurice, La., got the win in going the distance. She gave up four hits, struck out five, and walked one; while Smith (5-3) got the loss. She pitched four-and-a-third, giving up five hits, walking five, and hitting two batters; while reliever Gekler gave up one hit and walked two.
            Szigeti led SMCC with a double, while Allen, Myers, and Magee had base hits; while Davis led PRCC’s six-hit effort with two doubles (three RBIs). Waits had two singles, Lewis homered (three RBIs), and Scronce of Petal High (two RBIs) singled. Lantrip had an RBI for the Lady Wildcats.
            Southwest played error-free, while Pearl River had one defensive miscue.
            The Lady Wildcats return to action Wednesday when they host seventh-ranked MACJC South Division rival Jones County in a 4 p.m. doubleheader before traveling to division foe Copiah-Lincoln in Wesson Saturday, March 16, for a 12 noon twin bill.
            The River returns to action Saturday when it hosts Southwest Mississippi in both teams’ MACJC South Division openers (12 noon doubleheader). The twin bill is PRCC’s annual Cancer Awareness Pink Game, while division rival Jones County visits Lady Wildcat Stadium Wednesday for a 4 p.m. twin bill.

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