No. 9 Pearl River takes on role of comeback kids against No. 5 Northwest
Published 7:53 pm Monday, May 1, 2023
POPLARVILLE, Miss. — The No. 9 Pearl River softball team showed their mettle in two come-from-behind wins in a sweep of No. 5 Northwest Friday at Wildcat Stadium. The Wildcats relied on strong pitching, nine strikeouts, and stonewall defense in a 2-1 game one win. Game two was more of the same, with 11 strikeouts and along with eight hits as the Wildcats erased a 3-0 deficit to win 5-3.
“I’m so proud of them — the fight today, the adjustments that were made — that was a totally different team than we saw earlier this week,” PRCC head coach Christie Meeks said of the Wildcats’ effort. “That was something that we practiced. We wanted to make adjustments and fight. That’s what they did. We were down in both games, and they fought back. I’m very proud of that.
“Northwest is a phenomenal team. They are very disciplined at the plate, and they can really pitch it. They can hit it. It’s awesome to come out of this series with a sweep. Our kids fought; that was all it was. In this conference, you have to dig deep and continue to fight.”
Starter Natalie Herrington (Petal) and solid defense kept the Wildcats (38-11 overall; 20-6 MACCC) in contention throughout a tight opening game against Northwest (31-7 overall; 20-6 MACCC).
Herrington opened the contest by striking out the first Ranger batter faced. Northwest put a runner on second with a double. The runner scored on a passed ball and Wildcat miscue, giving the Rangers a 1-0 lead.
The Wildcats threatened to score in the bottom of the first. With bases loaded, the Rangers closed out the inning without giving up a run.
Herrington came out strong at the top of the second, striking out the first two batters.
The Wildcats put runners in scoring position again in the bottom of the second but could not capitalize.
After both teams failed to generate offense, the Wildcats tied the game in the bottom of the sixth inning. Bryn Daughtery (Vancleave) opened the inning with a walk. Cassidy Cartwright (Poplarville) reached first after being hit by a pitch. A sacrifice bunt by Dallyn Nance (Nanih Waiya) put both runners in scoring position. An error by the Ranger shortstop off a hard hit Ashlyn Dean (Picayune; Pearl River Central) grounder scored pinch runner Kallie Hunt (Picayune) to tie the game 1-1.
The Wildcat defense held firm in the top of the seventh, with Herrington picking up her ninth strikeout of the game.
Morgan Lavergne (Baton Rouge, La.; Central) called game in the top of the seventh with a moon shot over the left field fence for a walk-off home run to give the Wildcats a 2-1 victory.
Herrington struck out nine in the complete game win, giving up three hits and one run.
Lavergne was 2-for-3 with one home run.
“She just has confidence in herself. She’s calm and composed,” Meeks said on Morgan’s approach. “She makes adjustments and does that quickly. Today, she made adjustments and was herself. You were able to see what happened after that.”
The Wildcats showed resilience in overcoming a 3-0 deficit to fight back and win game two for the sweep.
The Rangers wasted little time getting on the scoreboard in the top of the first. With a runner on first, the Rangers sent a shot over the fence for a home run to take a 2-0 lead.
Pitcher Brinson Anne Rogers (Statesboro, Ga.) settled down in the top of the second, striking out the side, keeping the score 2-0.
After both teams played stout defense, Northwest increased the lead to 3-0 in the top of the fourth. After a long double on a fly ball to center field, the Rangers plated a run on an RBI single in the next at-bat.
The Wildcat offense woke up in the bottom of the fourth. Daughtery led off the inning with a walk. Cartwright followed by sending the third pitch deep over the left field wall to cut the Northwest lead to one, 3-2.
Momentum was still on the side of the Wildcats in the bottom of the fifth inning. Destiney Gary (Greenwell Springs, La.; Central) opened the inning with a double to left center. Julianah Overstreet (Vancleave) advanced Gary to third with a single to right field. Daughtery tied the game, 3-3, as she roped a single down the right field line to score Gary, advancing Overstreet to third. Two batters later, Nance hit a pop fly right out of the shortstop’s reach to score Overstreet, 4-3. The Wildcats added another run on a Marisa West (Citronelle, Ala.; LeRoy) grounder, scoring pinch runner Hunt, 5-3.
Rogers shut down the Rangers in the sixth and seventh innings, striking out four batters over the last two frames to secure the 5-3 victory.
Rogers pitched a complete game, striking out 11 batters while giving up three earned runs on five hits.
Cartwright was 1-for-2 in the game with a two-run home run, and Daughtery was 1-for-2 with one RBI and one run scored.
On Tuesday, the Wildcats host East Mississippi in a makeup game postponed due to weather on April 7. Game times are 2/4 p.m. The doubleheader will also serve as sophomore day.
CASHLESS BOX OFFICE
To help improve traffic flow and fan experience, PRCC athletics box offices will be cashless in 2022-23. Only credit and debit cards will be accepted at the box office. Fans are encouraged to beat the lines and purchase their tickets in advance at PRCCAthletics.com/Tickets.
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