WESSON – The East Mississippi Community College softball team opened MACJC conference play by battling 10th-ranked Copiah-Lincoln to the final out of Friday's opening game before falling, 3-2 and 13-4, in doubleheader road action.
In the day's opening game, the Lady Lions took advantage of a pair of hit batsmen and two Co-Lin errors to manufacture two first-inning runs and stake starting pitcher Britney Bonney to an early 2-0 lead.
The Lady Wolves knotted the score at 2-2 on Hannah Walls' two-run double that plated Callie Fortenberry and Katelyn Hayman in the third inning.
That's where the score stayed during the late innings as Bonney and Co-Lin's Kaytlon Ward became locked in a pitchers' duel. The visitors had their opportunities to score late in the game but left two runners stranded during each of the last three innings. In the top of the seventh with the score still tied, a two-out triple by Madelyn Wilkes (Noxapter) was followed by a walk to Mackenzie Dolan (Union). But, Ward got EMCC first baseman Blake Bond (Winona) to line out to right field to keep the game deadlocked.
In the home half of the seventh, a one-out single by Fortenberry preceded Walls' two-out double to put both runners in scoring position. Harmoni Ashley then stroked a hard ground ball up the middle to bring home the winning run for Copiah-Lincoln.
In addition to Co-Lin out-hitting EMCC, 9-6, the Lady Lions left nine runners on base in the opener, including seven in scoring position.
Bonney, a freshman out of Madison Central High School, was the tough-luck loser in going the distance for EMCC. The rookie right-hander scattered nine hits, while striking out three and walking only one, over the seven innings.
The Lady Lions again grabbed an early 2-0 lead in the first inning of the nightcap on Dolan's two-out, two-run homer off Co-Lin's Mackenzie Gros with Megan Cummins aboard.
The unbeaten Lady Wolves promptly responded by batting around to score five runs on just two hits in the bottom half of the inning off Wilkes. Highlighted by Marley Poole's three-run blast a frame later, Co-Lin scored five runs again in the second and then added three more tallies in the third to comfortably move ahead 13-2.
EMCC tacked on solo scores in the fourth and fifth innings on Bond's solo homer – her second of the year – and Wilkes' RBI single, respectively. Bond and Wilkes had two hits apiece in the nightcap for the Lady Lions.
Coach Austin McNair's 0-7 EMCC Lady Lions will resume conference play following spring break by traveling to Senatobia to take on Northwest Mississippi on Wednesday, March 20.