Just a day removed from a home split with East Mississippi, the Southwest Mississippi Community College softball team displayed a more consistent brand of play Sunday, sweeping Coahoma with a pair of 9-0 decisions. The games against the Tigers were makeups from March 5.
“Anytime you can get two wins in our league it is great, it doesn’t matter who you play,” SMCC head coach Shea Johnson said. “The important thing is to continue to get those wins to get to a state championship.”
In Game 1, Jade Latham got the start for the Bears (13-5, 5-3) going four strong innings, giving up only one hit while striking out five. Jolie Freeman came on in relief and got one strikeout over one inning of work.
Latham provided early offense as well with an RBI single in the first inning putting SMCC ahead 1-0. Three batters later Latham, along with Bailey Buckley touched home on a Shelby Mason single to center.
During the following inning, Maggie Magee scored on a passed ball, making it a 4-0 game in favor of the Bears. Magee followed that up in the third with an RBI double to left, scoring Halee Jenkins and Mason.
“It was a high pitch and I was kind of nervous, I like the high pitches,” said Magee who finished 3-for-3 with three RBIs. “I hit it down the line and Coach Hannah (Price) was telling me to go so I had my wheels on and I was going.”
During the ensuing at bat, Magee scored when Ashja Walker reached on an error putting the Bears up 7-0.
The consistent offense for SMCC continued in the fourth. With two outs, the Bears got back-to-back RBI singles from Amber Cowart and Magee to increase the lead to 9-0.
The scoring in the second game wasn’t as spread out as the first as the Bears got all nine of their runs over a stretch of two innings. On the mound, the combination of starter Mikenzi Authement, Cora Robinson and Cowart recorded three strikeouts while only giving up two hits and one walk.
In the second inning, with a runner on, Authement sent a fly ball over the left field wall for the first collegiate home run for the sophomore from Houma, La.
“I really had been hitting just little bloopers and I really wanted to get a hit,” she said. “I haven’t hit a home run since high school so I am really glad that I did. I didn’t know that it was going out, I had no idea. I was just really happy, I had a lot of family here so it was really special.”
Following Authement’s home run the Bear offense began to pick up a bit from there.
Five batters later, Latham followed suit with her fourth home run of the year, a three-run shot to left that brought Jenkins and Jenna Brock home, increasing SMCC’s lead to 5-0.
Johnson began going to his bench, giving backups quality playing time. Jayden Davis came on in the third and delivered an RBI single to center.
Later in the inning, back-to-back sacrifice flies from Madison Moak and Latham followed by an RBI single from Buckley resulted in three additional runs putting the Bears up by the eventual final.
On Monday, the Bears were ranked No. 18 in the NJCAA poll, their first national ranking in program history.