PERKINSTON – East Mississippi Community College's softball season came to a close Saturday afternoon with a 4-2 setback to host Mississippi Gulf Coast in game two of the team's best-of-three MACJC playoff series played at Ross-Smith Field.
Coupled with their 9-2 setback to the Lady Bulldogs during Friday's series opener, the Lady Lions' winningest fastpitch softball season in school history ended at 27-22 overall. EMCC's 16-8 division mark and third-place division finish earned the program's sixth consecutive postseason tournament appearance dating back to 2009 and second straight under current head coach Kyndall White.
With the visitors facing elimination, the host Lady Bulldogs plated three runs on three hits off EMCC starting pitcher Halie Green in the bottom of the first inning. Gulf Coast pushed across a fourth run the next inning on a two-out RBI single by Emily Davis.
After leaving the bases loaded in the top of the second, EMCC took advantage of an outfield error to score an unearned run in the third inning on Jade Albritton's run-scoring single to cut the deficit to 4-1. However, the Lady Lions left the bags full for the second straight inning in a trend that would come back to cost them one more time later in the game.
Meanwhile, Green kept the visitors in the contest by throwing four scoreless innings down the stretch after giving up the four early runs on five hits through the first two frames. The sophomore right-hander settled down to allow just one hit and only four base runners over the final four innings.
The Lady Lions rallied again in the sixth and managed to tack on one more run on a two-out, bases-loaded hit by Corey Dawkins. With the bags still full and the potential tying runs in scoring position, Abby Roberts couldn't come up with the clutch hit in flying out to center field to end the inning. Leaving the bases loaded three different times, EMCC stranded 11 runners total during a contest filled with missed scoring opportunities.
Both teams had six hits apiece in the series-deciding contest. Green took the hard-luck loss for East Mississippi and finished the season with an 11-12 pitching record.
Mississippi Gulf Coast, now 33-16 on the year, advances to next week's four-team, double-elimination MACJC State Softball Tournament, May 2-4, to be hosted by Itawamba Community College in Fulton.