ELLISVILLE – No. 7 Mississippi Gulf Coast's third straight 40-win season ended one win short of a trip to nationals Thursday when the Lady Bulldogs fell 8-0 to No. 4 LSU-Eunice in six innings.
"It's been a good year. We probably weren't expected to do as well as we did," Lady Bulldogs coach Kenneth Long said. "That's the thing you have to dwell on right now. This group was very coachable and did what we asked them to do."
Gulf Coast ends the season 40-14. One more win would have gotten the Lady Bulldogs into the Region 23 championship round and to the NJCAA Division II Softball Tournament in Clinton next week.
Brittney Triplett (Fr, Brandon/Brandon) and Molly Murphy (So, Southaven/Lewisburg) had two hits each for the Lady Bulldogs, who had sent LSU-E to the losers' bracket with an 8-1 win in the tournament opener Wednesday.
LSU-Eunice (48-11) and Jones County elected not to play the region tournament championship round because of expected rain Friday. Both teams have clinched trips to Clinton. The Lady Bengals exploded for eight runs in the top of the sixth inning.
"Our two pitchers did a phenomenal job this year," Long said. "I really wished we'd had another pitcher or two for depth. It really showed up in this tournament."
Gulf Coast was regular-season MACJC runners-up. The Lady Bulldogs have won 131 games the past three years, and their success this year came despite not playing any games on the Perkinston campus. MGCCC is getting a new softball stadium for 2018.
"We had a few injuries along the way that we didn't make excuses about," Long said. "We didn't get to play any home games at all. I don't want to dwell on any negative stuff. Too much positive happened for this group."
NJCAA Region 23 Tournament
Game 1: Gulf Coast 8, LSU-Eunice 1
Game 2: Jones County 6, Itawamba 1
Game 3: Jones County 13, Gulf Coast 3
Game 4: LSU-Eunice 5, Itawamba 1
Game 5: LSU-Eunice 8, Gulf Coast 0
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