River splits with reigning state champ Jones County

            POPLARVILLE — Pearl River extended its softball winning streak to eight here Wednesday in MACJC South Division softball action with a thrilling 10-9 extra-inning victory over reigning MACJC champ Jones County; but the seventh-ranked Lady Bobcats rebounded in the nightcap game to bombard the Lady Wildcats 16-6.
            PRCC is now 12-7 overall and 3-1 in division play, while JCJC is 16-2 and 1-1.
            In the opening game, the Lady Bobcats went up 1-0 in the top of the first when Relanda McFarland led off with a single, stole second, moved to third off Alex Barrett’s sacrifice bunt, and scored off Bethany Volking’s single. PRCC starter Britanny LeBlanc out of North Vermillion High in Maurice, La., then struck out Karley Crosby before Makenzie Hawkins grounded to short for the final out.
            The Lady Wildcats managed a base runner in the bottom of the frame when Emily Jackson out of Theodore High in Mobile, Ala., drew a two-out walk; while both teams managed runners in the second off JCJC’s Brooke David’s lead off single and LeBlanc’s single.
            After the third and fourth innings went scoreless, C.C. Lawn cracked a two-out single for Jones in the top of the fifth; while Pearl River took the lead in the bottom of the frame. Kaci Lantrip out of Terry High smashed a one-out double down the third-base line and moved to third an out later when Whitney Waits of Oak Grove High reached on an error. After Waits stole second, Megan Scronce of Petal High cracked a two-run single to make it 2-1. Jackson followed with a single before back-to-back walks by JCJC starter Michelle Hester on Heather Boutwell and Kelsea Lewis, both of Oak Grove High, pushed a run home. With the still bases loaded, Courtney Warr, another Theodore High recruit, flew out to left to end the inning.
            But the Lady Bobcats immediately tied it up in the top of the sixth. After LeBlanc retired Barrett and Volking, three straight doubles by Crosby, Hawkins, and Brooke David made it 3-3. Kalyn McNabb then reached after being hit by a pitch before Rebecca Dunn hit into a force at third for the final out.
            Lantrip managed a one-out single in the bottom of the inning before JCJC blistered the Lady Wildcats for five runs in the top of the seventh.
            Lawn led off with a single down the third-base line, Relanda McFarland walked, and Lawn scored off Alex Barrett’s single to right. McFarland scored off Volking’s sacrifice, McFarland scored off Crosby’s double to left field, and Crosby scored off McNabb’s single to make it 8-8 before LeBlanc K’d Rebecca Dunn and Lawn for the final outs.
            But the River answered. Jackson got things going with a one-out double to center before Boutwell lined a single to center. Lewis followed with an RBI double to left field, setting the stage for Boutwell crossing the plate off Warr’s ground out. LeBlanc followed with an RBI double to center before Lantrip crushed a two-run homer over the center field fence to knot things up at 8-8.
            Hester was relieved by Samantha Buller at that point who retired Micah Davis of Poplarville High and things headed into extra innings.
            With Warr relieving LeBlanc to start the eighth and Hawkins perched at second as JCJC designated base runner, Hawkins moved to third off McFarland’s ground out to first. After Barrett drew a base on balls, Volking smacked an RBI double to center to make ti 9-8. Warr then walked Crosby to load the bases before Hawkins flew out to left fielder Davis, who immediately fired home to nail Barrett at the plate for the final out.
            In the bottom of the inning, Davis was PRCC’s designated runner at second. She moved to third when lead off Waits grounded out to the pitcher. Scronce then flew out to left before Jackson was then belted by a pitch. Boutwell reached on an error, scoring Davis to tie it up. Jackson and Boutwell advanced to second and third on a passed ball, setting the stage for Lewis’ game-winning RBI single.
            Warr (3-2) picked up the win in her one inning of relief, giving up one hit and walking two, while LeBlanc pitched seven frames, giving up 13 hits, striking out four, walking one, and hitting a batter.
            Butler (6-2) got the loss in her two-thirds inning of relief, giving up two hits and hitting a batter; while Hester went seven innings, giving up 10 hits, striking out three, and walking three.
            JCJC committed two errors in the game to PRCC’s none.
            In the nightcap, the Lady Bobcats scored eight runs in each of the third and seventh innings to take the lopsided victory.
            Pearl River went up 1-0 in the bottom of the first when Waits drew a lead off walk and moved to second off Scronce’s ground out before Jackson was belted by a pitch. After starter Butler struck out Boutwell, Lewis cracked an RBI single before Warr popped out to end the inning.
            JCJC loaded the bases in the top of the second off a single, a walk, a fielder’s choice, and an error, but couldn’t push a run home; while PRCC padded its lead with a solo run in the bottom of the frame.
            Starting pitcher Neely McCrary of Petal High led off with a walk, moved to second off Latrip’s ground out, then to third on a wild pitch. After Davis struck out, Waits smacked an RBI single down the third-base line to make it 2-0 before Scronce struck out to end the inning.
            Then the Lady Bobcat floodgates opened. Dunn, Volking, and Crosby loaded the bases with three straight base hits, while Hawkins followed with a two-run double to tie it up and McNabb’s two-run triple made it 4-2. Andi Barrett then reached on an error, scoring McNabb, while Lawn and McFarland drew back-to-back walks an out later to reload the corners, setting the stage for Dunn’s three-run double to center to make it 8-2. Volking lined to short and Crosby grounded to short for the final outs.
            The Lady Wildcats showed resiliency, cutting the Lady Bobcats’ lead to four in the bottom of the inning. With one out, Boutwell was hit by a pitch, which prompted the mound exit of Buller for Dana Arender, who immediately walked Lantrip. Three straight wild pitches resulted in two River runs to make it 8-4. Warr walked, McCrary singled, and the duo moved to second and third off yet another wild pitch before Arender retired Lantrip and Davis to end the inning.
            The River added a solo run in the bottom of the fourth when Waits led off with a base on balls. Arender exited the mound at that point for Hester, who immediately retired Shannon Brown of Petal High. After Waits stole second, Jackson smashed an RBI single to left to make it 8-5 before Boutwell flew to center and Lewis grounded to second to end the inning.
            In the top of the fifth, Jones loaded the bases with one-out singles by Dunn and Volking and a two-out walk of Hawkins, but McNabb flew to right for the final out.
            McCrary managed a one-out, line-drive single to left in the bottom of the frame before Hester recorded back-to-back strikeouts to end the inning.
            The Lady Wildcats cut the Lady Bobcats lead to two in the bottom of the sixth when Jackson drew a two-out walk, Boutwell singled to right, and Lewis cracked an up-the-middle RBI base hit to make it 8-6; while the JCJC floodgates reopened in the top of the seventh.
            Dunn led off with a single to center and moved to second off a passed ball before Volking walked, setting the stage for Crosby’s RBI single. Hawkins followed with a two-run triple to the center field fence, while McNabb cracked an RBI single to make it is 12-6. An out later, David singled to center and McNabb scored off Lawn’s base hit, which saw McCrary leave the mound for Warr, who immediately retired McFarland. But Dunn followed with an RBI single and Volking a two-run base hit to make it 16-6 before Crosby struck out.
            Lantrip managed a one-out base hit to center in the bottom of the frame Davis grounded to the pitcher and Waits lined to short to end the game.
            Starter Buller (8-1) got the win in her two-and-one-thirds innings on the mound, giving up two hits, striking out three, walking one, and hitting three batters; while Arender pitched two-thirds of an inning, giving up one hit and three walks. Hester gave up five hits, struck out two, and walked one.
            McCrary (2-3) got the loss in her six-and-a-thirds innings of action, giving up 14 hits, striking out two, and walking six; while Warr pitched two-thirds of an inning, giving up two hits and recording a strike out.
            Dunn paced the Lady Bobcats’ 16-hit attack with a double and three singles (four RBIs), while McNabb tripled and had two base hits (three RBIs). Volking doubled and had two singles (two RBIs), Hawkins tripled and singled (four RBIs), and Barrett (one RBI), Crosby (one RBI), David, and Lawn (one RBI) all had base hits.
            PRCC finished with eight hits, led by Lewis (two RBIs) and McCrary with two singles each; while Boutwell, Jackson (one RBI), Lantrip, and Waits (one RBI) all had base hits.
            Pearl River and Jones County eye a division rematch Tuesday, April 9, when the Lady Bobcats play host in a 4 p.m. doubleheader.
            The Lady Wildcats return to action Saturday when they travel to division foe Copiah-Lincoln in Wesson for a 12 noon twin bill before hosting division rival Mississippi Gulf Coast Tuesday for a 4 p.m. doubleheader.

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