SCOOBA – A pair of 12-run innings powered the hot-hitting Lions of East Mississippi Community College to a convincing 17-10, 17-5 MACJC doubleheader sweep over visiting Northeast Mississippi Community College Tuesday evening at the EMCC Softball Field.
Coming back from five-run deficits on two occasions to begin the day, the Lions first exploded for a dozen runs in the sixth inning of the opener. Another 12-run outburst in the second inning of the nightcap led to a run-rule victory and completed the impressive sweep over the Tigers. EMCC totaled 34 runs on 27 combined hits, including three home runs, during the offensive display.
In the opening game, EMCC's early 2-0 lead was matched by Northeast's solo runs in the second and third innings. The Tigers then chased EMCC starting pitcher Ciara Steward with a five-run fourth frame, highlighted by Tianna Castillo's two-run triple.
The next inning, EMCC freshman Magnolia Keller's three-run homer – her fourth of the year – off NEMCC starting pitcher Jessica Boyd trimmed Northeast's lead to 7-5 and gave the Lions renewed enthusiasm. The Tigers got those three runs right back in the top of the sixth off EMCC reliever Carly Thompson to move ahead 10-5.
The momentum of the day completely changed in the bottom of the sixth. EMCC's initial big inning began with successive singles by Treasure Lynch, Mallory Vance and Sydney Olander to load the bases. The first 11 Lion batters all reached base safely before the inning's first out was recorded. All total without the aid of an extra-base hit but fueled by two Northeast infield errors, the Lions had nine singles, a walk and a hit batsman while sending 16 batters to the plate against four different Tiger pitchers during the frame.
East Mississippi's 15-hit team effort in the opener was headlined by Keller's 3-for-4 outing at the plate that produced four runs batted in and two runs scored. The D'Iberville product also had a double in the fourth and an RBI single in the 12-run sixth. Vance also had three hits in the opening game, while Lynch, Averi Pender, Kendall Wilkinson and Kaitlyn Brannon all had two hits apiece.
Thompson was the benefactor of the Lions' offensive breakthrough in the opening game by recording her team-leading seventh win of the year after working the final 3.2 innings.
The home-standing Lions maintained their offensive momentum into the second contest by plating a pair of runs in the first off starting pitcher Kris Devers before igniting for another 12-run explosion an inning later. On the heels of an RBI single in the first frame, Pender blasted a grand slam in her first at-bat of the second inning and later capped the frame with a two-run double. In her three at-bats of the nightcap, the Union native drove home seven runs, including her bases-clearing slam that tied her with Keller for the team's home run lead on the year with four.
With a dozen hits in the second game as a team, East Mississippi also received multi-hit efforts from Olander, Wilkinson and Brannon. In addition, sophomore first baseman Danielle Darmohray smacked a two-run home run in the third inning for her second of the year and the Lions' third home run of the day.
In the circle, sophomore left-hander Madison Jacques picked up her second win of the season with a complete-game showing. The Rayne, Louisiana native scattered seven hits over five innings with a strikeout and three walks during the nightcap.
Coach Kyndall White's 16-17 EMCC Lions, 13-5 in MACJC play, will take on Hinds Community College in a 2 p.m. Saturday afternoon softball twin bill at Rene Warren Field in Raymond.