Former East Central Community College shortstop Maegen Ellis, a product of Oak Hill Academy, signed with Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, LA to continue her softball in the fall. Ellis finished the Lady Warrior season batting .364 on 55 hits and 42 RBI.
Seven East Central Community College varsity sports teams earned National Junior College Athletic Association Academic Team of the Year honorable mention awards for having met the grade-point average requirement of 3.00 or better for the 2015-16 season.
The ECCC Diamond Warrior baseball team finished with a 3.43 GPA and ranked sixth overall.
The women’s basketball team also earned an honorable mention award, finishing with a 3.0 GPA.
Men’s soccer ranked 15th overall and finished with a 3.0 GPA as well. Women’s soccer tied for fourth overall, finishing with a 3.45 GPA.
The Lady Diamond Warrior softball team finished with a 3.56 GPA, the second highest GPA of East Central’s teams, and tied for ninth among all NJCAA Division II softball teams.
The ECCC men’s tennis team tied for 12th overall and finished with a 3.20 GPA, while the women’s tennis team led all ECCC teams with a 3.67 GPA and ranked fourth overall among women’s tennis teams.
There were 714 NJCAA teams that finished with a GPA of 3.0 or better out of a total of 3,394 teams in all sports across all divisions.
Several East Central Community College student-athletes received state and national recognition for academic performance during the 2015-16 academic year on the Decatur campus.
In all, 65 ECCC student-athletes were recognized by the National Junior College Athletic Association, the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges, or both organizations.
The NJCAA presents awards in three categories: NJCAA Pinnacle Award for Academic Excellence (for those achieving a perfect 4.0 grade-point average); NJCAA Award for Superior Academic Achievement (3.79 to 3.99 GPA); and NJCAA Award for Exemplary Academic Achievement (3.6 to 3.78 GPA).
Receiving the NJCAA Pinnacle Award for Academic Excellence were Blake Morton (baseball) of Madison, Carrissa Stevenson (women’s soccer) of Gulfport, Durham Norman (men’s soccer) of Florence, Gage Leifried (men’s soccer) of Meridian, Kellen Clark (men’s soccer) of Chunky, Kaitlyn Knuth (women’s soccer) of Collinsville, Pashien Kelley-Johnson (women’s soccer) of Diamondhead, Samantha McCrimon (women’s tennis) of Louisville, Samuel Thompson (men’s soccer) of Decatur, and Nathan Roseberry (baseball) of Purvis.
Receiving the NJCAA Award for Superior Academic Achievement were Baylee Green (softball) of Sebastopol, Brandon Clark (baseball) of Union, Brantlie Sheets (softball) of Louisville, Brittany Rasco (women’s soccer) of Pascagoula, Brooke Payne (women’s tennis) of Union, Chaney Mills (women’s tennis) of Hickory, Cole Prestegard (baseball) of Hampton Grove, Ala., Maggie Luke (women’s soccer) of Decatur, Elizabeth Frey (softball) of Purvis, Kaley Bufkin (women’s tennis) of Decatur, Katlyn Duke (softball) of Philadelphia, Lucas Orchard (football) of Vancleave, Maegen Ellis (softball) of West Point, Megan Parrish (women’s soccer) of Pascagoula, and Tyler Ladner (baseball) of Pass Christian.
Receiving the NJCAA Award for Exemplary Academic Achievement were Allie Turner (women’s soccer) of Horn Lake, Andi McCrimon (women’s tennis) of Louisville, Cole Duty (men’s tennis) of Louisville, Blake Paben (baseball) of Madison, Brandon Rodgers (men’s tennis) of Louisville, Caitlyn Aldous (softball) of Petal, Chloe Thaggard (softball) of Philadelphia, Emily Dykeman (women’s tennis) of Forest, Gabrielle Gross (women’s soccer) of Nesbit, Gabrielle Stapp (women’s soccer) of Saucier, Jacob Huff (baseball) of Brandon, Kayla Young (women’s soccer) of Olive Branch, Kenzie Jenkins (women’s soccer) of Florence, Lacey Field (women’s soccer) of Olive Branch, Lacey Hill (softball) of Kilbourne, La., Matt Mitchell (baseball) of Lake, Devin Skinner (men’s tennis) of Philadelphia, Nicholas Thomas (men’s soccer) of Southaven, Peyton Cain (baseball) of Hickory, Taylor Creighton (baseball) of Quitman, Richard Jacobson (men’s soccer) of Pascagoula, and Zachary Claycomb (football) of Flowood.
The academic honors presented to student-athletes on the state level include MACJC Distinguished Academic All-State (those earning a 3.8 to 4.0 GPA) and MACJC Academic All-State (3.25 to 3.79 GPA).
ECCC student-athletes receiving MACJC Distinguished Academic All-State were Kaley Bufkin, Kellen Clark, Katlyn Duke, Maegen Ellis, Pashien Kelly-Johnson, Durham Norman, Megan Parrish, Brooke Payne, Brittany Rasco, and Carrissa Stevenson.
Those receiving MACJC Academic All-State were Caitlyn Aldous, Kayla Anderson (women’s soccer) of Florence, Christian Bellew (baseball) of Gulfport, Peyton Cain, Taylor Creighton, Michael Davis (baseball) of Clinton, Cole Duty, Lacey Field, Mahalia Gibson (softball) of Hattiesburg, Erin Golden (women’s soccer) of Petal, Zack Hammons (golf) of Raleigh, Andi Hannaford (softball) of Senatobia, Lacey Hill, Jesse Hosket (football) of French Camp, Eddie Houston (football) of Newton, Johnta’ Hughes (women’s basketball) of Hattiesburg, Jacob Huff, Will Kennedy (baseball) of Union, Summer Lavender (softball) of Canton, Matt Mitchell, Cayla Myers (softball) of Magee, Nathan Nance (golf) of Decatur, Jelisa Pearson (women’s basketball) of Quitman, Devin Skinner, Dylan Snypes (baseball) of State Line, Gabrielle Stapp, Chloe Thaggard, Allie Turner, Channing Wall (baseball) of Louisville, and Megan Yarbrough (women’s soccer) of Olive Branch.
East Central Community College softball standout Mahalia Gibson of Hattiesburg was recognized as a 2016 Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholar, in the April 21st edition of Diverse: Issues In Higher Education.
A product of Oak Grove High School and a 2016 ECCC graduate, Gibson was earlier named an NJCAA All Region 23 selection. She batted .402 and had 72 hits, including 18 homeruns and 68 RBI.
Following her freshman season, she was selected an NJCAA Division II Softball First Team All-American. She also was named to the NJCAA Division II Softball National Championship All-Tournament Team, NJCAA Region 23 All-Region Team, and Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges First Team All-State.
Each sports scholar must be a non-freshman who competes in an intercollegiate sport, maintains a cumulative grade-point average of at least 3.20, and is active in his or her campus or in the community. Approximately 1,000 male and female students from across the country were nominated.
Diverse: Issues In Higher Education established the Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholars Awards "to honor undergraduate students of color who best exemplify academic and athletic achievement. Inspired by tennis legend Arthur Ashe, Jr.'s commitment to education as well as his love for the game of tennis, U.S. colleges and universities are invited to participate in this annual awards program by nominating their outstanding sports scholars. In addition to their athletic ability and academic performance, Arthur Ashe, Jr. Sports Scholars demonstrate a commitment to community service and student leadership."
Tryouts for the 2016-17 East Central Community College fast-pitch softball team will be held Monday, May 16, at the Softball Park on the Decatur campus.
Tryouts will begin at 3 p.m.
For additional information, contact Head Coach Kristin Chaney at 601-635-6301 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Assistant Coach Courtney Nunn at 601-635-6416 or email@example.com.
A return trip to the national softball championship tournament wasn’t in the cards for No. 11 East Central Community College as the Lady Diamond Warriors were eliminated May 7 from the 2016 National Junior College Athletic Association Region 23 Softball Tournament played on the campus of LSU-Eunice in Eunice, La.
The tournament featured four of the top 11 teams in the most recent NJCAA Division II Softball Top 20.
The Lady Diamond Warriors didn’t go down without a fight, however. After losing their first game of Region 23 play Friday, May 6, to MACJC State Champion and No. 5 ranked Jones County Junior College 3-2, East Central came back Saturday afternoon to defeat No. 3 Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College 7-3 in an elimination game.
The ECCC win eliminated Gulf Coast and put the Lady Diamond Warriors in another elimination game late Saturday afternoon against No. 1 LSU-Eunice, won by the Lady Bengals 8-4.
East Central finished its season with a 44-11 record. Last season, the Lady Diamond Warriors finished second in the Region 23 Tournament and advanced to the NJCAA Division II Softball Championship in Clinton where they also finished second.
Against Jones County on Friday, May 6, East Central took a 2-0 lead in the first inning thanks to a single by Caitlyn Aldous of Petal High School, a double by Mahalia Gibson out of Oak Grove High School, and a Jones County throwing error. Jones County fought back with single runs in the fourth, fifth, and sixth innings to take the 3-2 win.
Lacey Hill, a product of Kilbourne (La.) High School, took the loss giving up only four hits in six innings of work, while walking four batters.
It was the fourth meeting of the year between ECCC and in-state rival Jones County, with the Lady Diamond Warriors falling short in all four contests.
In the 7-3 win over Gulf Coast, the Lady Diamond Warriors fell behind early 3-0. East Central tied the game at 3-3 in the bottom of the second thanks to three Lady Bulldog errors in the inning. East Central grabbed the lead, and for good, in the next inning with double by Katlyn Duke out of Neshoba Central High School, a double by Summer Lavender out of Canton Academy, and a single from Purvis High School’s Elizabeth Frey, all with two outs.
East Central added an insurance run in the sixth on another Lavender double and then a run in the seventh.
It was also the fourth meeting of the year between these two teams, and the first time East Central came away with a victory.
Hill was in the circle again for the Lady Diamond Warriors, throwing seven innings and giving up five hits.
In the 8-4 elimination loss to No. 1 LSU-Eunice, East Central again fell behind early as the Lady Bengals scored three runs in the first two innings.
East Central closed the gap to 3-2 in the top of the fourth on a lead-off double by Brittney McCray out of Sumrall High School, followed by a two-run homer to left center off the bat of Duke.
The Lady Bengals added a single run in the fifth and four more in the sixth on just two hits to take an 8-2 lead into the last inning. East Central rallied with two runs in their last at bat to pull to the final 8-4.
Hill tossed her third straight game for East Central before being relieved by Chloe Thaggard out of Leake Academy in the sixth.
LSU-Eunice and Jones County will face off at Noon on Sunday, May 8, with LSU-Eunice needed to beat Jones County twice on the afternoon for the Region 23 championship. Both teams will be in the 2016 NJCAA Division II Softball Championship May 18-21 in Clinton.
No. 11 East Central Community College and No. 5 Jones County Junior College will meet for the fourth time this season when the National Junior College Athletic Association Region 23 Softball Tournament gets underway Friday, May 6, on the campus of LSU-Eunice in Eunice, La.
East Central and Jones County will face off at 1 p.m., followed by No. 1 LSU-Eunice and No. 3 Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College at 3:30 p.m.
The winners from Friday’s games will meet on Saturday at 10:30 a.m. and the losers will meet in an elimination game at 1 p.m. A second elimination game will be held at 3:30 p.m. Saturday. The championship game is scheduled for Noon on Sunday.
Jones County, which won the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges State Tournament May 4 with a 2-0 win over Gulf Coast, will be the top seed in the Region 23 Tournament. Jones County is 42-6 on the season. Gulf Coast will be the No. 2 seed with a 45-5 record. LSU-Eunice is 51-5 and the No. 3 seed. The East Central Lady Diamond Warriors enter Region 23 play as the No. 4 seed with a 43-9 record.
The top two teams from the Region 23 Tournament advance to the 2016 NJCAA Division II Softball Championship to be played May 18-21 at Traceway Park in Clinton.
East Central will be very familiar with its opponents in the Region 23 Tournament, having played Jones County and Mississippi Gulf Coast three times each this season, and LSU-Eunice in last year’s Region 23 Tournament.
“I think going into this tournament we are very familiar with who we are playing and we know what we are up against," said ECCC Head Coach Kristin Chaney. “It is going to come down to who wants it more and who has that hunger to go after it.”
East Central has lost all three matchups with Jones County this season, the most recent being 5-1 in the first game of last weekend’s MACJC State Tournament held on the JCJC campus in Ellisville. Jones County also swept the regular season doubleheader played in Decatur.
In last season’s Region 23 Tournament played at Jones County Junior College, East Central defeated then No. 1 LSU-Eunice 4-3 in game one and No. 2 Jones County 1-0 in game two to earn a spot in both the Region 23 finals and the national tournament. The Lady Diamond Warriors went on to finish second in both tournaments.
In last week’s MACJC State Tournament, East Central lost the opener 5-1 to Jones County before rebounding for a 7-6 win over No. 7 Itawamba Community College in an elimination game. Mississippi Gulf Coast then eliminated the Lady Diamond Warriors with a 10-1 victory.
The No. 11 East Central Community College softball team beat No. 10 Itawamba Community College 7-6 in the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges State Tournament Tuesday, May 3, in Ellisville. The game began Saturday, April 30, but was called in the top of the third inning due to rain.
The win against the Lady Indians qualified the East Central Lady Diamond Warriors for the National Junior College Athletic Association Region 23 Softball Tournament to be hosted by LSU-Eunice in Eunice, La., Friday through Sunday, May 6-8.
The loss eliminated Itawamba from the MACJC State Tournament.
ECCC advanced to play No. 3 Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College Tuesday evening in another elimination game, but fell to the defending MACJC State Champions 10-1.
In the close game against Itawamba, East Central took advantage of five Lady Indian errors.
Before the game was called on Saturday, Itawamba jumped out to an early 4-1 lead after one inning of play. ECCC would fight back to take a 5-4 lead with two runs in the second and then two more in the third on a two-run home run off the bat of Summer Lavender of Canton Academy.
When play resumed Tuesday, East Central added two runs to extend its lead with RBI doubles by Maegen Ellis of Oak Hill Academy and Mahalia Gibson of Oak Grove High School.
Lavender and Ellis racked up two RBI each in the win.
Lacey Hill, a product of Kilbourne (La.) High School, picked up the win striking out five and walking just one over six innings of work in relief.
Gibson blasted a solo-home run in the first inning of the game against Gulf Coast to take the early lead that Lady Diamond Warriors held until the fourth inning.
Gulf Coast scored four runs in the fourth to grab a 4-1 lead and then added six more runs in the fifth inning on three Lady Bulldog home runs.
Sophomore Chloe Thaggard of Leake Academy was charged with the loss working for East Central.
East Central moves on to the Region 23 tournament with a 43-9 overall record, while Itawamba ends its season 39-10.
Brackets and times for the NJCAA Region 23 Tournament will be released after the conclusion of the MACJC State Championship Wednesday, May 4, featuring No. 5 Jones County Junior College and Gulf Coast.
The No. 10 East Central Community College softball team dropped its opening game of the 2016 Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges State Softball Tournament 5-1 to No. 5 Jones County Junior College in Ellisville Friday, April 29.
ECCC fell into the loser’s bracket to face No. 7 Itawamba Community College on Saturday, April 30. That game was halted due to rain with East Central leading 5-4 in the top of the third inning. It will be resumed beginning at 3 p.m. on Tuesday, May 3.
Jones never surrendered its lead after scoring once in the second inning in East Central’s tournament opener.
East Central closed the deficit to 3-1 after scoring on an RBI double in the top of the fifth by Caitlyn Aldous of Petal High School.
The Lady Bobcats then responded with two runs of their own in the bottom of the fifth to grab the final 5-1 lead.
Sophomore Lacey Hill of Kilbourne (La.) High School took the loss in the circle.
The winner of the ECCC vs. Itawamba game on May 3 will earn a spot to compete in the National Junior College Athletic Association Region 23 Tournament hosted by No. 1 ranked LSU-Eunice.
Jones County and No. 3 Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College will face off in game two on May 3, with the winner advancing to the championship game of the MACJC State Tournament on Wednesday, May 4. The loser will face the ECCC vs. Itawamba winner at 7 p.m. May 3.
Listen to East Central softball action at: http://850amwqst.com.