NEMCC SOFTBALL HEAD COACH JODY LONG ONE WIN AWAY FROM A NATIONAL TOURNAMENT APPEARANCE
BOONEVILLE, Miss. –Northeast Mississippi Community College's head coach Jody Long has his team set-up for a rematch with the Mississipp Association of Community & Junior College's (MACJC) State Champs Jones County Junior College with a National Tournament appearance at stake.
Coach Long and company dropped a heartbreaker to JCJC in the MACJC's State Championship game on April 27, but Long and company will have a chance to avenge that loss in day three of the Region XXIII Tourney in Clinton, Miss.
Northeast put themselves in position for the rematch after day one of the regional tourney by defeating Pearl River 3-2, then on day two the Lady Tigers sqeeked by Northwest with two home runs in the bottom of the sixth inning.
With the Lady Tigers trailing 2-0 in the bottom of the sixth frame, Nicki Whitten (Booneville) started off the rally against the Lady Rangers by hitting a home run single that pulled Northeast to within one, 2-1. Two batters later . . . it was Andrea Cutts (Ackerman) who came through in a big way, with a two-run homer to push the Lady Tigers to a 3-2 lead heading into the final stanza.
With the win, NEMCC was 3-0 heading into their fourth game of the tourney where they faced the nation's number one team LSU-Eunice in game two of day two. However, it was all LSU-Eunice in game two as the Lady Bengals ousted Northeast in five frames 9-0. Dixson started the game at the mound for Coach Long but was releived in the second inning by freshman Kristen Claunch (Cherokee, Ala.).
"I am really proud of the way our team has played these past two days," explained Long. Unfortunately, we lost to a great team in LSU-Eunice but we have put ourselves in a great position by defeating Pearl River and Northwest and now all we have to do is finsh. At the start of the year our goal was not really to win a state championship or even a regional championship . . . but a national championship. In order to do that, we have to win tomorrow against a great team in Jones County."
The MACJC's 2012 State Champions, Jones County Junior College is currently the third ranked team in the nationa and will look to spoil the Lady Tigers goals once again iin tomorrow's rematch. In that championship game Northeast had JCJC on the ropes leading 5-1 heading into the final inning but gave up five runs with one out and lost in a heart breakering fashion 6-5.
The winner of day three, game one, between Northeast and Jones County at 10 a.m. will face LSU-Eunice in the Region XXIII Championship game set for noon at the Traceway Park in Clinton on Saturday, May 5.
Northeast is the only team remaining from the MACJC's North Division with Northwest Community College and Itawamba Community College failing to move on after both dropped close games on day two and were eliminated from the regional tournament.
You can follow Northeast softball via Twitter on@ NE_Public_Info or by GameChanger at http://www.gamechanger.io/t/spring-2012/northeast-mississippi-community-college-4f30ddf8ecf2009702000003.
LSU-Eunice 3, Northwest Miss. 0
Jones County 4, Itawamba 1
Northeast Miss. 3, Pearl River 2
Day 2 (noon results)
LSU-Eunice 4, Jones County 1
Itawamba 14, Pearl River 3
Northeast Miss. 3, Northwest Miss. 2
DAY 2 (2:30 p.m. results)
Northeast Miss. 0. LSU-Eunice 9
Itawamba 1, Jones County 2