The East Central Community College Lady Warriors came from behind in both games of a doubleheader to sweep the Shelton State Community College Lady Buccaneers out of Tuscaloosa, Ala., in a battle of nationally ranked softball teams Saturday, Feb. 18, at the Softball Park in Decatur.
East Central won the opener 5-2 and then won game two 3-2.
The Lady Warriors improved to a perfect 8-0 on the season. Shelton State dropped to 6-3.
It was the fourth annual Cancer Awareness Game at East Central, with the Lady Warriors wearing pink jerseys in honor and memory of loved ones who are currently battling cancer or have lost their life to cancer.
It was also a battle of top 20 teams. ECCC is ranked No. 12 in National Junior College Athletic Association Division II. Shelton State entered the game as the No. 10 ranked team in NJCAA Division I.
Shelton State took an early lead in game one with a single run in the top of the first inning. The game remained scoreless until the Lady Warriors struck for two runs in the bottom of the third. A walk and fielder’s choice gave East Central a pair of base runners, before freshman shortstop Kayla Beckham out of Neshoba Central singled in one run and another Lady Warrior crossed the plate on the throw back to the infield.
The Lady Buccaneers would tie the game in their half of the fifth with a long home run to left field by Madison Chambers. But the Lady Warriors would put the game away in bottom of the inning. Kenyatta Moore, a product of Philadelphia High School, singled with one out and then stole second. An out and a walk later, Shelton State booted Beckham’s infield grounder and two runs scored. Freshman catcher Cassie Obman, a product of Caledonia High School, doubled in another Lady Warrior run to put East Central up by the final 5-2.
Beckham had two RBI in the win. Abby Winstead, a sophomore outfielder out of Sebastopol, was the lone Lady Warrior with more than one hit. She had a triple and a single.
Kaitlyn Oswalt, who was named both the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges and NJCAA Division II Softball Pitcher of the Week for Feb. 6-12, took the win for East Central. The Heritage Academy (Columbus) product threw seven innings and surrendered nine hits and struck out five batters.
East Central struck first in game two with a run in the second inning off a single by Marlee Parkes out of Nanih Waiya. Shelton State would quickly regain the lead in the top of the third off another Chambers home run, this time with a runner on base.
East Central tied it at 2-2 in the fourth with a home run of its own, a solo shot by first baseman Brittney McCray out of Sumrall High School that just crawled over the left field fence, and then took the lead for good, 3-2, on another Parkes single.
Each team managed just five hits in the nightcap.
Freshman pitcher Mackenzie Rousseau, a product of Vanderbilt Catholic in Houma, La., picked up the win in game two, getting the final batter on a strike out with a Shelton State runner on second.
East Central will face three Division I opponents in its next three outings, two on the road. The Lady Warriors travel to Monroeville, Ala., Tuesday, Feb. 21, for games with Alabama Southern Community College at 1 and 3 p.m., and then to Marion, Ala., on Thursday, Feb. 23, for two games with Marion Military Institute, also at 1 and 3 p.m. East Central returns home Sunday, Feb. 26, to face Jefferson Davis Community College from Brewton, Ala., at 2 and 4 p.m. at the Softball Park in Decatur.
Most East Central home softball games game can be heard on the radio at WKOZ “Cruisin” 98.3. The radio broadcasts are also streamed online on the ECCC website at www.eccc.edu/eccc-media and at www.kicks96news.com.
Live video streaming is available via high-definition video and streaming audio found at www.eccc.edu/eccc-media or www.kicks96news.com.