BOONEVILLE – The visiting Lady Lions of East Mississippi Community College claimed their second MACJC North Division softball sweep of the young season by knocking off Northeast Mississippi, 7-2 and 4-1, Tuesday afternoon at David Carnell Memorial Field.
In the opener, the visitors posted three-run innings in their first two at-bats, as sophomore catcher Abby Roberts had clutch two-out hits in both frames. Her two-run triple in the first inning was followed by a run-scoring single by Pepper Baker. An inning later, Roberts' two-run single capped a three-run second for the Lady Lions.
The Lady Tigers answered with solo tallies of their own in each of the first two innings. In the bottom of the first, Chelsea Buntin's single plated Haleigh Moffett, who had tripled. The next frame, Haley Christian doubled off EMCC starter Halie Green to bring home Bianca Chagolla.
The score stayed at 6-2 through the middle innings until the Lady Lions added an insurance run of the unearned variety in the top of the sixth on Northeast's third error of the contest.
Offensively in the opener, Roberts went 3-for-4 with four runs batted in, while Corey Dawkins was 2-for-3 with three runs scored to pace EMCC's eight-hit team effort. With two hits apiece, Moffett and Christian combined for four of Northeast's six hits.
In the circle, EMCC's Green improved her pitching record to 7-5 with the complete-game six-hitter. The Lafayette, La., native struck out six and walked two in registering her ninth complete game in 10 starts this season.
The nightcap featured missed scoring opportunities by both teams, as the Lady Lions and Lady Tigers both stranded 11 runners apiece. Additionally, EMCC left the bases loaded three times through the first four frames, though they were able to produce all of their runs during that stretch.
After grabbing an early 1-0 lead in the first when Jade Albritton was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, the Lady Lions took advantage of two Northeast errors in the third inning to go on top 2-0.
Perhaps the turning point in the contest came in the bottom half of the third when the Lady Tigers loaded the bases with two outs. Bre Agnew's ensuing line drive was snared by EMCC starter Taylor Hackney for the third out to keep the 2-0 lead intact.
The visitors carried that momentum into their next at-bat when Kristen Mitchell led off the fourth inning with a walk. En route to a 4-for-4 effort at the plate in the nightcap, Dawkins followed with a run-scoring triple to center field for her sixth hit of the afternoon. Roberts later bunted home Dawkins for her fifth hit and fifth RBI of the doubleheader to stretch the lead to 4-0.
Northeast was finally able to reach Hackney for a solo run in the fifth on Buntin's two-out, bases-loaded single. However, EMCC's sophomore right-hander got Whittney Gee to foul out to end the threat and preserve the eventual 4-1 victory for the Lady Lions.
Hackney, a product of Bayou Academy, raised her pitching record to 5-4 on the year in scattering nine hits over seven innings while fanning two and walking three. Hackney also helped herself at the plate by going 2-for-4.
As both teams accounted for nine hits apiece in the second game, Dawkins, Roberts and Hackney combined for all but one of EMCC's total hits. Trenisha King went 3-for-4 to lead the home team, while Buntin and Chagolla added two hits apiece for Northeast during the nightcap.
Coach Kyndall White's 16-12 EMCC Lady Lions, now 5-3 in division play, close out their three-date road stretch by traveling to Moorhead to take on Mississippi Delta Community College next Wednesday (March 19) in a 1 p.m. doubleheader.