DECATUR – Layton Sills' two-run homer in the ninth inning of Saturday afternoon's nightcap lifted East Mississippi Community College to an MACJC softball doubleheader split at East Central Community College. The Lady Lions' 10-7 extra-inning victory in the second game followed the Lady Warriors' 5-0 shutout win over EMCC to begin the day's action.
After letting a pair of four-run leads slip away earlier in the nightcap, EMCC opened the top of the ninth inning with a bloop single by Bryley Rodriguez. Sills, a sophomore catcher out of West Lincoln High School, then smacked her first collegiate home run for the game-winning runs off East Central's Kaitlyn Oswalt. The visitors added an insurance run later in the frame when Kelsey English's ground out plated Rebekah Williams, who had doubled after Sills' blast.
The Lions had initially built a 6-2 lead off ECCC starting pitcher Mackenzie Rousseau after three innings. Carly Thompson put EMCC on the board for the first time with a two-out, two-run double in the first inning. After the Lady Warriors tied things up with two runs of their own in the bottom half of the inning on an RBI triple by Kayla Beckham and Eva Scott's sacrifice fly off Rodriguez, the Lady Lions took advantage of three ECCC errors to score once in the second and three more times in the third.
The two teams then traded runs during the middle innings to set up the game's first dramatic homer. Shelby Walters' two-out, run-scoring double in the fourth for East Central was answered by Sills' two-out RBI single an inning later to again make it a four-run contest. That four-run margin disappeared with one swing of the bat when Beckham reached EMCC's AG Stewart for a game-tying grand slam in the bottom of the sixth inning to knot the score at 7-7.
After being limited to just three singles during Oswalt's complete-game shutout in the opening game, the Lady Lions banged out a dozen hits in the nightcap, including five players with multiple-hit outings. Rebekah Williams led the way with two doubles and an RBI single, while Sills, Thompson, Rodriguez and Mollie Singleterry all had two hits apiece.
In the circle, Rodriguez picked up her third victory of the year by working a total of 5.2 innings during the second game. After starting the game and then throwing 1.2 innings of middle relief, she came back in to toss three more scoreless innings to close out the contest. The Louisiana native allowed three runs on seven hits while striking out one and walking three.
During the opening game of the afternoon, East Central reached Stewart for four runs on four hits in the second inning. Consecutive two-out RBI singles by Macy Brabham and Marlee Parkes were followed by Walters' two-run double. The Lady Warriors added a fifth run in the fourth on another run-producing single by Parkes.
Singleterry, a freshman second baseman out of Wayne County, had two of EMCC's three hits in the opener.
Coach Kyndall White's 7-11 EMCC squad, 3-1 in MACJC play, is scheduled to play a 1 p.m. Tuesday doubleheader at Coahoma Community College before returning home to play host to Mississippi Gulf Coast in a 2 p.m. Friday twin bill on the Scooba campus.