SCOOBA – The East Mississippi Community College softball team successfully opened its 2014 home slate with an 8-1, 4-2 doubleheader sweep over Hinds Community College Saturday afternoon on the Scooba campus.
Bouncing back from dropping their season-opening twin bill, 10-3 and 8-0, at East Central Community College Thursday afternoon in Decatur, the EMCC Lady Lions evened their season record to 2-2.
In Saturday's opener, EMCC grabbed its first lead (2-1) of the game by taking advantage of a two-out Hinds miscue in the bottom of the third inning. After Kristen Mitchell reached on an infield error and Corey Dawkins moved her over with a fielder's choice, Kasey Stanfield laced her first of two run-scoring doubles of the game with a two-run two-bagger to center field.
The Lady Lions followed with two more scores the next frame, as Pepper Baker doubled home pinch-runner Beth Hull and then later scored on a double-steal to increase the lead to 4-1 after four innings. EMCC doubled its run total by plating four additional runs in the fifth on five hits. Stanfield, a New Hope High School product, began things by driving home her third run of the contest with an RBI-double to right field. Baker later added a run-producing triple and scored on Elizabeth Barnacastle's base hit to account for the final margin.
With two hits apiece, Stanfield, Baker, Barnacastle and Meri Morgan Fortune combined for eight of the team's 10 total hits in the opener.
Meanwhile in the circle, EMCC sophomore right-hander Taylor Hackney got stronger as the game progressed after escaping unscathed from a no-out, bases-loaded jam in the opening frame. Setting down the visitors in order in the third, fourth and fifth innings, the former Bayou Academy standout gave up only one run on just two hits while striking out three and walking a pair in five innings of work. Freshman pitcher Logan Smith threw the final two innings for the Lady Lions in the first game.
In the nightcap, the two teams traded unearned tallies in the opening frame. EMCC took a 3-1 lead after four innings on an RBI-double by Jade Albritton in the third and a run-scoring infield out off the bat of Whitney Lowe that plated pinch-runner Sarah Lolley.
The Lady Eagles managed to trim the deficit to 3-2 by scoring a run in the top of the sixth, but sophomore starter Halie Green stranded the bases loaded after getting Monica Wade to ground out to third for the final out of the inning. The Lady Lions wasted little time getting the insurance run back when Hull doubled to left-center and later scored on Lowe's grounder to third.
Stanfield added two more hits in the second game and was joined by Mitchell and Albritton in the multi-hit club.
Green, from Lafayette, La., also evened her pitching mark to 1-1 on the year with the complete-game victory. The sophomore right-hander allowed two runs on only four hits over the seven innings while striking out five and also walking five.
Coach Kyndall White's EMCC Lady Lions are slated to play their next 10 games away from the home over the next two weeks, beginning with Tuesday's road doubleheader against Pearl River Community College in Poplarville.