ELLISVILLE – East Mississippi Community College's softball season concluded with 7-2 and 6-1 road setbacks to fifth-ranked Jones County Junior College during Saturday's MACJC action played at Community Bank Field/Gwen Magee Field.
Missing out on postseason play for only the second time in the last 10 years, sixth-year head coach Kyndall White's EMCC Lions completed the 2018 campaign with an overall record of 17-26 and MACJC mark of 13-15.
The Lions' season finale began on a positive note as freshman Bryley Rodriguez smacked a two-run homer – her third of the year – off JCJC pitching ace Karli Perque in the opening frame.
Following a scoreless first inning, Jones County batted through the order in the second against EMCC starting pitcher AG Stewart to establish control of the game. After the Lady Bobcats loaded the bases to begin the inning, Gracie McCleskey belted a grand slam to highlight the five-run frame.
Perque then settled down in the circle to blank the visitors the rest of the way en route to recording eight strikeouts and allowing only three total hits to improve to 16-2 on the year with the complete-game victory.
Out-hitting EMCC, 10-3, in the opening game, Jones County added solo tallies in the fourth with Kelsha Loftin's sacrifice fly and in the sixth on McCleskey's second home run of the contest.
For the visitors in the opener, Rodriguez added a sixth-inning single and Rebekah Williams had an infield hit in the fifth. In the circle for the Lions, Stewart fell to 9-11 on the season with the complete-game loss.
EMCC again jumped out to an early lead in the opening frame of the nightcap by taking advantage of an infield error to produce the game's first run on Rodriguez's RBI single.
After tying the game at 1-1 with a run in the bottom of the first on Callie Venable's two-out, run-scoring single, the Lady Bobcats scored their remaining five runs on a pair of home runs off Rodriguez. McKennah Sikes' two-out, two-run blast in the third was followed by Loftin's three-run shot an inning later.
JCJC's Madison Burge kept the Lions off the scoreboard the rest of the way en route to improving to 13-1 on the year. EMCC's Rodriguez went the distance in finishing her freshman season with an 8-13 pitching mark in the circle.
Freshman shortstop Kelsey English's 2-for-4 effort at the plate led the Lions' six-hit team showing in the nightcap.