DECATUR – East Mississippi Community College dropped a pair of softball decisions against MACJC opposition during Saturday's East Central Invitational. EMCC fell, 9-4, to the host ECCC Lady Warriors to begin the day's action and followed with a 9-7 setback to Hinds.
In the opening game of the day, the Lady Lions grabbed an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning on Camryn Williams' solo home run off East Central starting pitcher Kaitlyn Oswalt. The visitors held the advantage until Kayla Beckham's two-run triple off EMCC starter Bryley Rodriguez in the third made it a 2-1 contest.
After the Lady Warriors added another run a frame later on Mackenzie Johnson's sacrifice fly, EMCC's Williams continued her torrid power surge by smacking a three-run homer in the fifth inning to put the Lady Lions back on top, 4-3. The White Hall, Arkansas, native would add another long ball against Hinds.
East Central, ranked No. 10 in the NJCAA Division II preseason softball poll, answered by plating three runs on four singles in the fifth to gain back the advantage. The Lady Warriors then put the game away by adding three more runs the following frame on Shelby Walters' two-run blast and a two-out RBI double by Eva Scott.
Williams led the Lady Lions' six-hit team effort in the day's opener by going 2-for-4 at the plate with the pair of homers and four runs batted in.
Rodriguez, a freshman right-hander from Louisiana, took the loss in the circle for EMCC, allowing 14 hits with five strikeouts and two walks in the complete-game decision.
East Mississippi was also first to get on the scoreboard against Hinds with Kelsey English's run-scoring single in the bottom of the second inning. The Lady Eagles responded by scoring three two-out runs in the third on Nikki Skerlong's two-run double followed by an RBI single from Amelia Purdy off EMCC starting pitcher AG Stewart.
After the Lady Lions cut the deficit to 3-2 with an unearned run in the third, Hinds did more two-out damage in the fifth inning with back-to-back, run-scoring doubles by Purdy and Madeleine Hart. EMCC answered right back in the bottom half of the frame when Mollie Singleterry's leadoff double off Hinds starter Lizzy Lloyd set the table for Williams' third home run of the day and fourth in three games. Megan Cummins' two-out RBI single then knotted the score at 5-5.
Each team added solo tallies in the sixth to set up the game-deciding seventh inning. In the top half of the frame for Hinds, a leadoff walk to Hanna Mitchell preceded Skerlong's two-run homer off Stewart. On the heels of Purdy's third double of the contest, Tica Watts then added an insurance run for the Lady Eagles with a run-scoring single.
Stewart, a sophomore right-hander out of Pisgah High School, suffered her first loss of the year in three decisions.
EMCC and Hinds combined for 25 hits in the contest. Williams paced the Lady Lions' 12-hit team outing by going 3-for-4 with three more RBIs. The freshman first baseman, who previously belted a three-run, walk-off homer last week against Baton Rouge, was 5-for-8 at the plate during Saturday's EC Invitational with three home runs and seven RBIs.
Coach Kyndall White's 2-6 EMCC Lady Lions will return home to play host to Shelton State during a Tuesday doubleheader set for a 2 p.m. first pitch on the Scooba campus.