SCOOBA – The Lions of East Mississippi Community College extended their softball winning streak to nine consecutive games with a 5-2 home win over Southwest Mississippi Community College Sunday afternoon at the EMCC Softball Field. The visiting Lady Bears claimed a 3-1 victory in the nightcap.
The home-standing Lions plated all the runs they would need in the opening frame of the first contest. After EMCC loaded the bases to begin the game with a hit and back-to-back walks, Kendall Wilkinson's run-scoring grounder was followed by Magnolia Keller's bases-clearing double to right field.
The Lions increased their lead to 5-0 off Southwest starting pitcher Kassie Shipley an inning later on Averi Pender's RBI single that plated Mallory Vance, who went 3-for-4 at the plate in the opening contest.
That would prove to be the necessary run support needed by EMCC starting pitcher Jordan Self, as the sophomore right-hander limited the visitors to just two hits through their first five scoreless innings.
Southwest did begin to click offensively late in the game and managed to put solo runs on the board in the sixth and seventh innings. With two hits each frame, the Lady Bears trimmed the deficit to 5-2 on RBI doubles from Kelcey Bremenkamp and Miranda Magee. SMCC did manage to get the potential tying run to the plate in the seventh with runners on the corners, but Self got Jordan Fitzgerald to fly out to center field for the game's final out.
Self, from Lanett, Alabama, scattered six hits, while striking out six and walking three, during her complete-game effort to improve to 2-1 on the year.
EMCC's streak of nine consecutive softball wins during the month of March came to a halt in the nightcap after the Lions could only reach Southwest starting pitcher Rebecca Davis for three hits during the contest. In addition, two costly infield errors and a run-producing illegal pitch contributed to EMCC's first loss since Feb. 25. The nine-game win string marked the program's longest such streak since the 2013 season.
The Lady Bears reached EMCC starting pitcher Ciara Steward for an unearned run in the first inning on Jeney Hudson's two-out RBI single. They added a second run in the third when Magee led off the inning with a hit, stole second and third, and came home on Steward's illegal pitch.
The Lions' only score of the nightcap, also of the unearned variety, came in the bottom of the third. Catcher Rachel Rooney reached base and advanced to second on an infield throwing error. Following a sacrifice bunt by Treasure Lynch, courtesy runner and former Noxapater High School teammate Kiera Phillips raced home safely on Vance's bunt to third base.
But, that was the only offense EMCC could generate off Davis, who improved to 6-4 on the year with the complete-game victory. Other than the third inning, the Lions only managed to get a runner into scoring position during two other frames.
Coach Kyndall White's 10-13 EMCC Lions, 7-1 within the MACJC, are slated for a 2 p.m. Wednesday doubleheader at Coahoma Community College before returning home to play host to fourth-ranked LSU Eunice in a 4 p.m. Saturday twin bill on the Scooba campus.