March 17, 2017

Kayla Beckham and her teammates celebrate her home run in the first inning of game one against Holmes. (EC Photo)

The East Central Community College Lady Warrior softball team took a hard-fought doubleheader from the Holmes Community College Lady Bulldogs Friday, March 17, at the Softball Park in Decatur, and in doing so won their seventh and eighth straight games.

East Central, ranked No. 12 in the most recent national poll, took the first game 18-9 and then won the nightcap 4-2.

It’s been a successful spring break so far for the Lady Warriors as they are now 8-0 over the past eight days.

East Central is now 21-3 on the season and 6-2 in MACJC league play. Holmes dropped to 4-18 overall and 0-8 in the league.

The Lady Warriors played long ball early in game one. Kayla Beckham out of Neshoba Central hit a two-run shot in the bottom of the first inning after a single by Madalyn McMahon, also from Neshoba Central. McMahon also singled home a run in the second to give East Central a 3-1 lead.

Brittney McCray from Sumrall hit a solo home run to open a big third inning for East Central. After McCray’s drive, the Lady Warriors put seven more runs on the scoreboard as they batted around. McMahon doubled in three runs in the inning, and Beckham singled in a run. The Lady Warriors also scored on a couple of fielder’s choices and a hit batter.

The Lady Warriors were up 11-2 going to the fifth inning, with the Lady Bulldogs’ lone runs coming on two long solo home runs from Meghan Cumming. However, Holmes scored seven runs in the top of the fifth on five hits to close the score to 11-9.

The Lady Warriors ended the Holmes charge with four more runs in the bottom of the fifth, two of them coming on singles by freshmen Cassie Obman of Caledonia and Katherine Shell out of Brookhaven. Then McCray’s second home run of the game, this one with two runners on base, ended the game by run rule in the bottom of the sixth, 18-9.

McCray drove in four runs in the win, while McMahon and Beckham had three RBI each.

Kaitlyn Oswalt, who prepped at Heritage Academy in Columbus, picked up her 13th win of the season, giving up five hits and striking out eight Lady Bulldogs.

Game two was more of a pitchers’ duel. Shelby Walters out of Northwest Rankin got East Central on the scoreboard first with an RBI single in the bottom of the first inning. The Lady Warriors extended their lead to 2-0 in the fourth when Mackenzie Johnson out of Nanih Waiya got on base with a bunt single and Latesia Davis from Newton County High School brought her home with a two-out single to center.

The Lady Warriors put the game away with two more runs in the bottom of the sixth. Walters led off with a single and eventually scored on a sacrifice by Johnson. Johnson then scored on a sacrifice by Marlee Parkes, also out of Nanih Waiya.

The Lady Bulldogs scored their two runs in the top of the last inning.

Mackenzie Rousseau from Vanderbilt Catholic in Houma, La., got the win in the circle, her eighth of the season.

The Lady Warriors will play their third straight MACJC doubleheader at home on Sunday, March 19, when Northwest Mississippi Community College visits the Softball Park in Decatur for games at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.

East Central will then hit the road to face Hinds Community College in Raymond on March 22 at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. and then Mississippi Delta Community College in Moorhead on March 25 at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.

Brittney McCray connects on the first of her two home runs in game one. (EC Photo)