POPLARVILLE – Freshman Camryn Williams' three-run, walk-off home run in the eighth inning lifted East Mississippi Community College to a 10-7 softball victory over Baton Rouge Community College during Friday's Wildcat Invitational hosted by Pearl River Community College.
After dropping a 9-0 run-rule decision to preseason No. 1-ranked LSU Eunice earlier during Friday's tournament play, the Lady Lions trailed Baton Rouge, 2-0, after the Lady Bears reached EMCC starting pitcher AG Stewart for a pair of third-inning runs.
EMCC got on the scoreboard for the first time on the day in a big way by sending 11 batters to the plate in the bottom of the fifth inning. A two-out infield error opened the door for six consecutive batters to reach base safely off BRCC starting pitcher Sydnee McCall. Highlighting the Lady Lions' seven-run inning were back-to-back, two-run doubles by Layton Sills and Rebekah Williams.
Aided by a pair of EMCC errors a frame later, Baton Rouge answered right back with five runs in the top of the sixth off Stewart. Sara Tate's two-run home run fueled the Lady Bears' game-tying at-bat.
Utilizing the international tie-breaker rules of beginning an inning with a runner at second base, BRCC's Kelsey Cifreo walked to lead off the top of the eighth inning. The Lady Bears were not able to move either runner, as Stewart shut down the potential rally by retiring the bottom of the lineup in order, including two strikeouts, to keep the game tied at 7-7.
With Kiera Phillips placed on second base to start the bottom of the eighth, a one-out walk to Mollie Singleterry set the stage for EMCC's game-winning, three-run blast. After working the count full off BRCC reliever Caroline Smith, Williams, from White Hall, Arkansas, picked an opportune time to belt her first collegiate home run over the right-center field wall.
Singleterry's 3-for-4 outing at the plate led EMCC's 12-hit team effort against Baton Rouge. Freshman Bryley Rodriguez joined Camryn Williams and Rebekah Williams with two hits apiece for the Lady Lions.
In the circle, Stewart scattered seven hits over eight innings, while striking out six and walking two, to pick up her second win of the season. The sophomore out of Pisgah High School previously opened the season with a two-hit shutout performance at Marion Military Institute.
During their earlier game Friday versus top-ranked LSU Eunice, the Lady Lions were limited to six hits by winning pitcher Kaeleigh Crutchfield. Phillips, of Noxapater, led EMCC with a pair of singles.
The Bengals reached EMCC's Rodriguez for four home runs and three doubles, including a pair of solo shots by Madison Monson in the first and sixth innings. Emily Henderson had a two-run homer in the first to stake LSUE to an early 3-0 lead and later added an RBI double in the sixth. Kelci Bodin belted a solo homer in the second inning.
EMCC's 10-7 extra-inning win over Baton Rouge snapped a four-game losing skid that included Thursday's home doubleheader setback (13-0 & 14-2) to Marion Military. Coach Kyndall White's 2-4 Lady Lions will resume action Saturday (Feb. 17) by taking on host East Central and Hinds at the East Central Invitational in Decatur.