By Lee Adams/The Itawamba County Times
FULTON – While the 2010 season may have offered little for the Northeast Mississippi Community College softball team to boast about, the Lady Tigers were happy, nonetheless, to get a win over rival Itawamba Community College on Monday afternoon.
The Lady Tigers (9-25) took Game 1 of Monday’s MACJC North Division doubleheader, 6-4 in eight innings.
“We’ve had a season we are not happy with, but we played more relaxed today,” said Northeast coach Jodie Long. “Anytime you can beat your rival is a big win.”
Unfortunately, the fun for the Lady Tigers would end there, as the Lady Indians (21-20) – who are in contention for the North Division regular-season crown with a 13-3 record – held on to win the second game, 2-1.
“Anytime you play Northeast, they are going to bring their ‘A’ game and you have to come prepared,” said ICC coach Chad Case. “I think we overlooked them a little in game one, but we manufactured some runs in Game 2 to win the ball game.”
Becca Rogers got the start for ICC in game one, but was hit with two runs in the first inning when Sara Beth Michael hit a RBI single and Paige Smith drove in a run by reaching on an error.
Northeast held a 2-0 lead after three innings and added an insurance run in the top of the fourth on a Danielle Frederick RBI single. Rogers was pulled in the inning and Laura Mitchell took over for ICC.
Trailing 3-0, ICC loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the fourth. ICC plated its first run of the game when Anna Taylor grounded out to the pitcher and Rachel Talley scored from third.
The scored remained 3-1 until the bottom of the seventh when Kimmy Nicholson hit a RBI single to pull ICC within one run and Talley followed by hitting a ground ball to short that resulted in an error, allowing Nicholson to score and tie the game.
In the top of eighth, Northeast plated three runs on two hits and it proved to be enough as ICC answered with only one run in the bottom of the inning.
ICC took an early lead in Game 2 when Taylor plated a run on a bases-loaded ground out. Northeast then tied the game at 1-1 in the top of the fourth on a Leslie Hendrix RBI single.
Crucial run-down run
In the bottom of the fifth, Lara Andrews hit a fly ball to left field with two runners in scoring position. CeCee Austin tagged up at second and got caught in a rundown. While Austin was in the rundown, Nicholson darted to the plate to score the go-ahead run.
The one run was all ICC’s Chelsea Lukens needed as she shut down the Lady Tigers to give ICC the 2-1 victory.
ICC was tied with East Mississippi for the North Division lead prior to Monday’s twinbill, but the split means the Lady Indians need to sweep their next two series to finish the regular season on top.
“We’ve got to take care of business at Northwest Wednesday,” said Case. “Then we have a showdown with East Mississippi on Saturday that could be for the division title.”