ELLISVILLE – No. 7 Mississippi Gulf Coast fell short in its quest to upset top-ranked Jones County in the MACJC Tournament finals Sunday, losing 4-2.
The Lady Bulldogs (39-12) took an early two-run lead but weren't able to hold off the Lady Bobcats' potent offense.
"I think we played as hard as we can play," Gulf Coast coach Kenneth Long said. "We had a chance to beat them. There's a couple of plays that if the go a different way, we're tied or ahead. Give them credit. They're a good team. I can't be more proud of out team."
MGCCC (39-12) had already qualified for the three-day NJCAA Region 23 Tournament begins Thursday in Ellisville. Gulf Coast and Jones County will be joined by Itawamba from the MACJC and LSU-Eunice. The top two teams advance to the NJCAA Tournament in Clinton. It will be played May 17-20.
Jones improves to 47-2.
Gulf Coast jumped out to a lead in the second with another two-out rally, a staple of this tournament. Precious Sanders (Fr, Philadelphia/Philadelphia) got hit, and Camry Griffith (So, Taylorsville/Taylorsville) got a hit.
Brittney Triplett (Fr, Brandon/Brandon) followed with a hard single through the right side that made it 2-0.
"Trip's got a lot of ability and she helps us in that leadoff position," Long said. "She's going to continue to be the kind of player we need."
The Bulldogs scored 14 runs in four tournament games, and all but two were scored with two outs.
Aidan Nichols (Fr, Brandon/Brandon), who got called for another two illegal pitches Saturday, kept Jones off the board until the fourth inning. The Lady Bobcats got back-to-back pinch hits to take a 3-2 lead.
They added another in the fifth.
"When you're on the mound like her and you have umpires watching every move you make, I don't know who could have done any better than Aidan did," Long said. "I was thinking during the game she's got so much to stress about but she still came through.'
Gulf Coast threatened in the sixth and had a runner on first with one out in the seventh, but Triplett's hard line drive up the middle was turned into a double play to end the game.
Game 1: Gulf Coast 7, Itawamba 6
Game 2: Jones County 9, East Central 0, 5 innings
Game 3: Jones County 10, Gulf Coast 2, 6 innings
Game 4: Itawamba 4, East Central 2
Game 5: Gulf Coast 3, Itawamba 2, 8 innings
Game 6: Jones County 4, Gulf Coast 2
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