SCOOBA – A four-run third inning and five-hit pitching by Taylor Hackney in the nightcap carried the East Mississippi Community College softball team to an MACJC North Division home doubleheader split with rival Itawamba Saturday afternoon at the EMCC Softball Field. EMCC's 6-3 nightcap victory over the visiting Lady Indians followed ICC's 9-7 triumph in the opener.
In the second game, the Lady Lions grabbed an early 1-0 lead in the first inning on Kasey Stanfield's sacrifice fly to right field. After the visitors tied the contest in their next at-bat on Autumn Bonner's RBI single, EMCC plated four runs in the third inning courtesy of run-producing doubles by Stanfield, Jade Albritton, Abby Roberts and Pepper Baker.
Itawamba trimmed the deficit to 5-3 in the fourth on Ashley Langford's two-run home run off Hackney, but that proved to be the final hit allowed by EMCC's sophomore right-hander. The Lady Lions got one of those runs back in the bottom half of the fourth on another run-scoring double by Albritton to account for the final outcome.
Holding ICC hitless and scoreless over the final three frames, Hackney improved to 7-4 on the year. The former Bayou Academy standout struck out two and walked but one while scattering five hits over the seven innings.
Out-hitting the visitors, 9-5, in the nightcap, the Lady Lions received 2-for-3, two-RBI outings from both Albritton and Stanfield.
In the action-packed opener, the two teams totaled 16 runs on 22 hits while also combining to commit eight errors and leave 16 runners on base between them.
Itawamba's unearned run in the top of the first was topped by EMCC's three-run answer in the bottom of the opening frame. Albritton's first of three doubles and first two of five RBIs on the day was the big hit in the inning.
The Lady Indians promptly took a 6-3 lead in the second by going through the lineup with six consecutive two-out hits off EMCC starting pitcher Halie Green. As Green settled down during the middle innings, the Lady Lions pushed across a pair of unearned runs in the third off ICC starter Hannah Johnson and then moved ahead, 7-6, the next frame via RBI singles from Corey Dawkins and Albritton.
After Green balked home an ICC run to tie the game in the fifth, the visitors reclaimed the advantage the next inning on a Kory Watterson run-scoring double followed later by a Langford sacrifice fly. In relief of Johnson, ICC's Cara Hopper limited the home team to just a Dawkins lead-off single in the sixth during her 2 2/3 innings of work in the circle to pick up the victory.
While notching her 11th complete-game effort in 12 pitching starts on the season, Green fell to 8-6 with the loss. The Lafayette, La., native allowed 15 hits with five strikeouts and three walks in going the distance.
Dawkins paced EMCC with three singles in four at-bats in game one, while Albritton went 2-for-4 at the plate with three runs batted in and two runs scored.
For Itawamba, now 16-9 overall and 8-2 in division play, everyone in the starting lineup had at least one hit during the team's 15-hit performance in the opening contest. Haley Moore led the way with three singles in four official at-bats.
Coach Kyndall White's EMCC Lady Lions, 19-13 overall and 8-4 within the division, remain at home to play host to Northwest Mississippi next Friday (March 28) in a 3 p.m. doubleheader on the Scooba campus.