River splits with Co-Lin

            POPLARVILLE — Pearl River’s Lady Wildcats split with Copiah-Lincoln’s Lady Wolfpack in MACJC South Division doubleheader softball action here Saturday, falling 5-4 in the first game before bombing their visitors 6-1 in the nightcap.
            PRCC is now 20-14 overall and 9-7 in division play following the split, while CLCC is 19-15-1 and 6-12.
            In the Lady Wildcats’ loss, Co-Lin jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the top of the first inning and never relinquished the lead.
            After River starter Brittany LeBlanc out of Vermillion High in Maurice, La., struck out lead off batter Kaitlin Moak, she walked Josie Porter before belting Karla Beth Hux with a pitch. After Porter stole third, she was sacrificed home by Missy Romero with a fly ball to center for the game’s first run.
            LeBlanc then walked Shelby Mitchell and Hannah Roberts followed with an RBI double to left and Bradi Davis answered with a two-run triple to right to make it 4-0 before Kayla Craft fouled out to catcher Kelsea Lewis of Oak Grove High.
            Pearl River scored a solo run in the bottom of the inning when lead off Whitney Waits of Oak Grove High reached and wound up on second base on the first of six Co-Lin errors, moved to third off a sacrifice bunt by Megan Scronce of Petal High, and scored off a sacrifice fly to center by Emily Jackson out of Theodore High in Mobile, Ala., before Lewis grounded out to third to end the inning.
            In the top of the second, lead off Elizabeth Cliburn blooped a single to left and Moak doubled off an error. After Porter lined out to third base, Lewis pulled off a double play when she snagged Hux’s foul ball and tagged Moak for the final out.
            The Lady Wildcats saw Courtney Warr, another Theodore High recruit, get things rolling in the bottom of the inning with a one-out, line-drive single to left. After LeBlanc walked, Kaci Lantrip of Terry High struck out, but Shannon Brown of Petal High followed with an RBI double to left to make it 4-2. Waits fouled out to the catcher to end the inning.
            That score remained intact until the top of the fifth when Romero drew a two-out walk, Mitchell singled to left center, and Romero scored off Hannah Roberts’ single to left for Co-Lin’s final run. Bradi Davis got the third out when she took a swipe, but was ruled out of the batter’s box.
            Pearl River loaded the bases in the bottom of the frame, but couldn’t cash in. After lead off Jackson popped out, Lewis doubled to the center field fence and Warr walked an out later. LeBlanc followed with a single to load the corners, but Lantrip popped out to third to end the inning.
            The Lady Wolfpack went three up, three down in the top of the sixth; but the Lady Wildcats scored the game’s final two runs in the bottom of the inning.
            Brown led off with a single to left and Waits reached on a fielder’s choice, stole second, and scored when Scronce wound up at second base off an error. After Jackson grounded out, Lewis belted an RBI single to left center to make it 5-4 before Heather Boutwell of Oak Grove High flew out to right to end the inning.
            Co-Lin managed a base runner in the top of the seventh, while Pearl River threatened in the bottom of the frame. Warr led off with a single before LeBlanc reached on a fielder’s choice. Lantrip then reached on a fielder’s choice, but LeBlanc courtesy runner Micah Davis of Poplarville High was safe at second.
            Brown and Waits then saw back-to-back fly outs to left field to end the game.
            Starter Brooke Gonzales (14-7) got the win in going the distance, giving up seven hits, striking out two, and walking three; while starter LeBlanc (9-5) got the loss. She also pitched the distance, giving up five hits, striking out two, walking four, and hitting a batter.
            Cliburn led CLCC at the plate with a pair of singles, while David tripled and Relanda McFarland and Kalyn McNabb both had base hits.
            Brown and Lewis both doubled and singled to lead PRCC, while Warr had two singles and Lantrip had a base hit.
            Copiah-Lincoln committed six errors in the game to Pearl River’s five.
            In the nightcap, the Lady Wildcats went up 1-0 in the bottom of the first before the Lady Wolfpack tied it up in the top of the second. In the bottom of the third, The River blew it open with a five-run barrage.
            Starter Neely McCrary (8-6) of Petal High got the win in going the distance, giving up seven hits and striking out three; while starter Meghan Johnson (5-7) got the loss in her two-and-two-thirds innings on the mound. She gave up five hits, struck out two, walked one, and hit three batters before Chynna Coughlin relieved with two outs in the third. She gave up one hit.
            Both teams managed six hits in the game with Davis, Cliburn, Hux, Mitchell, Moak, and Roberts all singling for CLCC, while Lantrip tripled for PRCC and Hillary Dickens of Picayune High, Lewis, Waits, and Warr all had base hits.
            Both squads committed two errors each in the contest.
            The Lady Wildcats resume South Division action Monday when they travel to East Central in Decatur for a 1 p.m. make up doubleheader (originally scheduled for April 6, but rained out), then PRCC hits the road to take on fifth-ranked South Division leader Mississippi Gulf Coast in Perkinston Wednesday for a 3 p.m. twin bill.
            Following its Gulf Coast doubleheader, three more match ups remain in the regular season, including division foe Hinds at home on Saturday (12 noon), No. 1-ranked LSU-Eunice at home Tuesday, April 23 (3 p.m.), and division rival East Central Saturday, April 27 (12 noon).
            The top four finishers in the North and South divisions earn berths in the MACJC State Tournament set for May 2-4 at the home field of the South Division champion.
            The South Division standings through Saturday’s play sees Gulf Coast leading the way at 15-3, followed by fourth-ranked Jones County at 12-4, East Central 10-6, and Pearl River. Southwest Mississippi is still in the race at 6-10.
            The North standings see East Mississippi in first at 10-4, followed by Itawamba at 11-5, and Northeast Mississippi and Northwest Mississippi at 9-5. Holmes is still in the hunt at 10-8.

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