SCOOBA – The Lady Lions of East Mississippi Community College claimed their third consecutive MACJC North Division softball sweep by knocking off visiting Mississippi Delta Community College, 8-0 and 12-6, during Friday's Sophomore Day activities at the EMCC Softball Field.
Riding their current six-game winning streak, head coach Kyndall White's 25-15 EMCC Lady Lions kept pace with Northwest Mississippi for the second-place position within the MACJC's North Division softball standings. With identical 14-6 division marks, both EMCC and NWCC presently trail front-running Itawamba (25-10, 17-3). The Lady Lions are slated to take on the ICC Lady Indians Monday afternoon in Fulton, while Northwest is scheduled to play at Northeast Mississippi to open the week. The top two teams from both MACJC divisions will host best-of-three playoff series, April 25-26.
After recognizing their 12 sophomore players during pre-game festivities, the Lady Lions bolted to a 4-0 lead in the first inning off Delta starting pitcher Emily Cox. EMCC added another tally in the third on Taylor Hackney's RBI double – the first of six two-baggers on the afternoon for the home team.
Staked to the early lead, EMCC starting pitcher Halie Green was in total control in the circle. The only runner to reach base off the sophomore right-hander during the five-inning opener was Tori Blackburn, who had a two-out single in the second inning for the Lady Trojans. From there, Green went on to retire the final 10 batters in order en route to registering her third shutout of the season. The Lafayette, La., native fanned eight and did not issue a walk to improve her pitching record to 11-7 on the year.
Aided by an infield throwing error by Delta that plated two more runs in the fifth inning, the Lady Lions ended the run rule-shortened opening game on Beth Hull's two-out, run-scoring single.
Slowed somewhat early with six errors through the first three innings of the nightcap, the Lady Lions went down 2-0 as the visitors took advantage of three EMCC miscues in the third inning alone. Highlighted by Corey Dawkins' two-run single and back-to-back doubles from Stanfield and Jade Albritton, the home team responded in the bottom half of the frame by scoring four runs on five hits to go on top 4-2.
Though East Mississippi added a pair of runs in both the fourth and fifth innings, the short-handed Lady Trojans cut the deficit to 8-6 by scoring three runs off EMCC starting pitcher Tori Seymour in the sixth inning. The Lady Lions answered right back once again by plating four more runs in the bottom of the sixth. Following RBI singles by Albritton and Abby Roberts, Meri Morgan Fortune capped a 3-for-3, 3-RBI effort at the plate in the nightcap with a two-run double to the opposite field.
Seymour, a sophomore left-hander, went the distance in the circle for EMCC to improve to 4-1 on the year. The D'Iberville product scattered 10 hits over seven innings with eight strikeouts and one walk.
Along with Fortune, the Lady Lions had four other players with multiple hits in game two. Contributing to EMCC's 15-hit attack were fellow sophomores Albritton, Roberts, Seymour and Dawkins with two hits apiece.
Still with division doubleheaders against Itawamba (Monday) and Coahoma (makeup date TBA) as well as non-division road twin bills versus top-ranked LSU Eunice (April 17) and Copiah-Lincoln (April 21) to be played over the final two weeks of the regular season, East Mississippi's 25 softball wins this season already surpass the 24 victories recorded by last year's Lady Lion team and former head coach Kate Neely's 2009 EMCC squad.