Just 24 hours removed from a heart-breaking loss to the rival Co-Lin Wolves, the Southwest Mississippi Community College Bears had their work cut out for them against a tough Mississippi Delta squad.
But despite the quick turnaround and less-than-favorable weather conditions, the Bears got two strong pitching outings from Jade Latham and Allie Hunt combined with timely hits to sweep the Trojans with 4-1 and 7-3 wins Wednesday at Parklane Academy.
“I’m very proud of the fight, we were down 3-1 there and we had that good rally and scored four and jumped back up on them,” SMCC head coach Shea Johnson said. “I am pleased with the fight in the girls.”
In the Game 1 win, the Bears (5-2) got an all-around effort from Latham who shined on both the mound and at the plate. She went the distance for SMCC striking out 12 while only giving up one earned run five hits and two walks. Offensively she collected two hits and an RBI matching the same output from former North Pike Jaguars Jenna Brock and Madison Moak. Freshman Shelby Mason also collected a pair of hits in the win.
In the nightcap, SMCC got off to a solid start plating a run in the first inning on a fielder’s choice by Moak, allowing Brock to score.
However, the lead did not last long for the Bears. The Trojans (1-7) took advantage of an error and produced an two-run single to jump ahead 3-1 in the top of the second inning.
But Hunt — who got the start for the Bears in Game 2 — did not let that deter her. After getting out of the second, she came back and retired the side in order in both the third and fourth innings including getting two big strikeouts in the latter helping to keep her team within striking distance.
“There were a couple of innings where I knew that I had to make an adjustment with certain pitches,” Hunt said. “But all in all, I felt great, I felt like my defense had my back the whole time.”
She added that getting over the chilly temperatures — which hovered in the low 40’s for much of the evening — was more of a mental issue.
“I just try not to think about it,” she said. “It is hard to when you are playing and there are times when I have to ignore it and tell myself ‘it is not cold.’ ”
And while the temperatures were bitter, her offense began to heat up in the fifth. Moak and Latham led off with singles and both touched home when the following batter, Mason, hit a line-drive double to right center, tying the game at 3.
“I knew that I needed to get a hit at that time because that is what I was in the game to do with the position that I was in,” said Mason who hit from the No. 3 spot in the lineup.
Mason’s big hit swung the momentum back onto the home side, and the Bears took advantage the next inning.
After Scottie Metrejean singled and advanced to third following a sacrifice bunt by Macie Miley and a single by Brock, she touched home when Moak popped out to left field putting SMCC ahead 4-3.
The three ensuing batters in Latham, Mason and Ryleigh McManus delivered for the Bears with an RBI double, RBI single and RBI double, respectively, increasing the lead to 7-3.
With the lead once again, Hunt came back out trying to close out the Trojans, but she ran into a bit of trouble.
With two runners on base, an error allowed them to advance to third and second as Miss. Delta looked to climb back into the contest.
Hunt was relieved by Mikenzi Authement who got the final out securing the win and the sweep for SMCC.
The Bears return to action today in Brandon at the JUCO Classic as they will face LSU-Eunice and Marion Military Institute in a double-header.
They will wrap up play at the event on Saturday with games against Coastal Alabama-South and Highland (KS) CC.