RAYMOND – A four-run seventh inning in the second game enabled East Mississippi Community College to earn a road softball doubleheader split with Hinds Community College Saturday afternoon. The Lions' 8-7 comeback win in the nightcap followed a 5-3 setback to the Eagles in the opening game at Rene Warren Field.
Trailing 7-4 heading to the final frame of the second game, a leadoff double by Treasure Lynch and a single by Mallory Vance set the stage for EMCC's come-from-behind victory. Red-hot Averi Pender, who had a triple earlier in the game and a double in the opener, belted her team-leading fifth home run of the year to tie the game. Kendall Wilkinson followed with a one-out double off Cecilia Akin that brought starting Hinds pitcher Amberlee Nix back into the contest. Two batters later, Danielle Darmohray's two-out grounder was mishandled in the infield to allow pinch-runner Rebekah Williams to race home with the go-ahead run.
In the home half of the seventh, EMCC left-hander Madison Jacques recorded the opening out with a fly ball to center before giving way in the circle to freshman right-hander AG Stewart. Following a one-out single by Madison Leggett, Stewart got Lizzy Lloyd to ground out and then struck out pinch-hitter Nava Fisher to preserve the nightcap win and earn the doubleheader split.
Earlier in the contest, Hinds jumped out to a 5-0 lead after batting through the order in the second against EMCC starting pitcher Jordan Self. Key hits for the Eagles in the inning were a solo homer by Leggett and a two-out, two-run single by Kilah Dearman.
The visitors followed with a big inning of their own by going through the batting order in the third. Six singles by EMCC off Nix produced four runs and trimmed Hinds' lead to 5-4.
With Hinds picking up solo scores in the fifth and sixth innings to extend the lead to three runs, Akin, who picked up the win in the opening game, kept the Lions off the scoreboard through the middle innings of the nightcap. The freshman right-hander allowed only one EMCC base runner – a leadoff walk to Magnolia Keller in the sixth that was erased on a fly ball double play – during four innings of relief work until the final frame.
The Lions managed to bang out 11 of their 13 hits during the team's pair of four-run innings in the second contest. Kaitlyn Brannon led the way with three singles in four at-bats, while Vance, Pender, Wilkinson and Lynch all followed with two hits apiece.
In the opener, EMCC grabbed a quick 1-0 lead in the first on Wilkinson's sacrifice fly that scored Vance, who led off the game with a single and followed with her first of four stolen bases on the day. But that was the only scoring the Lions were able to produce off Akin until the last inning.
After getting out of a bases-loaded jam in the second without allowing a run, EMCC starting pitcher Carly Thompson fell victim to some defensive lapses by the Lions an inning later. Three errors led to a pair of Hinds runs in the third, and the Eagles followed with two more tallies a frame later on Di'Mon Brown's two-out, two-run single. The first of two homers by Leggett on the day put the home team in front 5-1 after five innings.
Aided by a pair of infield errors by Hinds in the seventh, the Lions mounted an initial comeback attempt after Pender's two-run double cut the deficit to two runs. With the potential tying run at the plate, Wilkinson lined hard into a double play to end the contest.
EMCC managed just seven hits off Akin in the opener, led by Darmohray's 2-for-3 effort at the plate.
Coach Kyndall White's 17-18 EMCC Lions, 14-6 within the MACJC, will host a pair of nationally ranked opponents this coming week on the Scooba campus. Tuesday's 3 p.m. twin bill against 14th-ranked Itawamba will be followed by Friday's 1 p.m. doubleheader versus No. 13 East Central at the EMCC Softball Field.