ELLISVILLE, Miss. — The Pearl River Lady Wildcats made a statement Wednesday afternoon, dropping No. 3 Jones College 8-2 in the first round of the MACJC Tournament.
The win marked the Lady Wildcats (26-19 overall) first MACJC Tournament win since 2014.
"I told these kids last week all we need to do is get in this tournament and then anything can happen," Pearl River coach Leigh White said. "This team played relentlessly and I'm proud of the way they came out and played tonight."
Jones (41-7) got the scoring started in the bottom of the second inning plating two runs from a groundout and a single to take a 2-0 lead.
Mary Grace Turner (Leakesville; Greene County) responded emphatically in the top of the fourth inning with a solo shot — her 18th of the season — to cut the Jones lead to 2-1.
"I knew it was a hard hit," Turner said. "I decided after she struck me out before that she was not getting me again with an offspeed pitch. It's fun to hit, it really is. All week coach has been putting it in our heads that as long as we play to the best of our abilities nobody can beat us."
It was the top of the seventh where the Lady Wildcats broke the game open.
Turner followed that up with an RBI double to center field to make it a 5-2 game.
Dallas Blaker (Bay St. Louis; Our Lady Academy) then put the exclamation point on the inning with a two-run shot.
PRCC closed out the bottom of the seventh to secure the upset.
Blaker and Fagan both led the team in hits with three.
BreAnna Corkern (Watson, La.; Live Oak) and Turner also registered two hits.
Blaker, Fagan and Turner also led the team in RBIs with three each.
"Our coaches have prepared us for this and we are out here fighting for Coach White," Fagan said. "We love Coach White and we came out here to show out and prove everybody wrong."
Gracie Barnett (Vancleave) picked up the win in the circle for the Lady Wildcats.
Barnett pitched seven innings, allowing five hits, five walks and two runs while striking out one.
"Gracie pitched her best game of the season hands down," White said. "She stayed with it. They have some good hitters but she stayed in there and handled it. She put the ball where we asked her to put it and our defense did its job.
"We made some adjustments to our pitching staff. Coach (Mahalia) Gibson had them working on a different game plan this week."
GETTING SOME NATIONAL LOVE
Taggard has had quite the week so far.
On Wednesday the NJCAA announced Taggard had been named the NJCAA Division II Player of the Week.
On Tuesday the league announced Elizabeth Taggard (Picayune) had been named the MACJC Player of the Week for the second time this season. Taggard was a big reason for PRCC's 4-2 week, hitting .714 with four home runs, six doubles, 17 RBIs and 10 runs scored.
The Lady Wildcats return to action in Ellisville tomorrow when they take on the winner of the East Central-Northeast game.
First pitch is set for 7:30 p.m. but may be moved up due to inclement weather.
2019 MACJC SOFTBALL TOURNAMENT
May 8-11, 2019 at Jones College in Ellisville, Miss.
Game 1: (6) Copiah-Lincoln vs. (3) Gulf Coast, Noon
Game 2: (7) Southwest vs. (2) Itawamba, 2:30 p.m.
Game 3: (8) Pearl River vs. (1) Jones College, 5 p.m.
Game 4: (5) Northeast vs. (4) East Central, 7:30 p.m.
Game 5: Loser of Game 1 vs. Loser of Game 2, Noon
Game 6: Loser of Game 3 vs. Loser of Game 4, 2:30 p.m.
Game 7: Winner of Game 1 vs. Winner of Game 2, 5 p.m.
Game 8: Winner of Game 3 vs. Winner of Game 4, 7:30 p.m.
Game 9: Loser of Game 8 vs. Winner of Game 5, Noon
Game 10: Loser of Game 7 vs. Winner of Game 6, 2:30 p.m.
Game 11: Winner of Game 7 vs. Winner of Game 8, 5 p.m.
Game 12: Winner of Game 9 vs. Winner of Game 10, 7:30 p.m.
Game 13: Loser of Game 11 vs. Winner of Game 12, 1 p.m.
Game 14: Winner of Game 11 vs. Winner of Game 13, 3:30 p.m.
Game 15: Winner of Game 14. Vs. Loser of Game 14 (if 1st loss), 6 p.m.