Press release from JCJC athletics
ELLISVILLE – It was a bigtime pitching matchup between Jones County’s Rachel Hayes and Mississippi Gulf Coast’s Kaitlin Lee in the MACJC Tournament winner’s bracket game here Tuesday evening at Community Bank Park.
Hayes and the 5th-ranked Lady Bobcats got the better of it with a 3-1 decision over the 3rd-ranked Lady Bulldogs.
JCJC is now 41-6 and will play for its fourth state championship in five years at 2 p.m. on Wednesday vs. MGCCC. The Lady Bulldogs beat No. 10 East Central, 10-1 in five innings, in an elimination game Tuesday night.
MGCCC is now 45-4, while East Central is 43-9.
Earlier, East Central had eliminated No. 7 Itawamba from postseason play with a 7-6 victory over the Lady Indians. ICC ends the year at 39-10.
JCJC, Mississippi Gulf Coast and East Central will advance to the Region 23 Tournament Friday through Sunday at No.1 LSU-Eunice. A complete tournament bracket with matchups and gametimes will be available Wednesday evening.
Hayes, who has signed with the University of St. Francis (Illinois) went the distance, allowed five hits, walked four, hit one and struck out four. She is now 23-1 on the year.
The Lady Bobcats played errorless ball behind Hayes.
Lee, who has signed with Ole Miss, allowed three runs, six hits, walked three and struck out three. She is 21-2 on the season.
JCJC got all the runs it would need in the second inning.
Natalie Hogue drew a one-out walk and was replaced by courtesy runner Skyler McLain. Autumn Frost then lined a single to centerfield and Hayes walked to load the bases.
Ashley Valentine’s infield singled scored McLain. Jay Harris then walked with the bases loaded to force Frost home. With two outs, Cori McCrary reached on an infield hit to score Hayes.
The Lady Bulldogs got its only run in the bottom of the third when Lexie Mathis homered to center.
Hayes allowed a baserunner in each of MGCCC’s final four at-bats, but did not allow another run.
McCrary had two singles for JCJC, while Byrd doubled. Hogue, Frost and Valentine singled.
Hannah Melendrez doubled and singled for MGCCC, while Mathis homered. Lee and Molly Murphy added singles.