PERKINSTON, Miss. (MGCCC Athletics) - No. 2 Mississippi Gulf Coast capped an exhilarating week with another tremendous comeback, rallying to beat No. 12 Itawamba twice in the MACJC opener for both teams.
Addison Renfroe (So, Lee County/Leesburg, Ga.) capped the second three-run comeback of the game in the final two at-bats with a two-out walk-off homer to win the second contest 7-6.
“It was an inside screwball,” she said. “That’s what I hit best. To be honest, I was thinking, This is the pitch. This is going out. And I just exploded.”
The Bulldogs (14-0) hit three home runs in the last two innings to erase the deficit, four days after having beaten No. 16 LSU-Eunice by rallying from 10-0 behind. In the opener, Kristen Cade (So, Harrison Central/Saucier) struck out 10 in a three-hit shutout to win Game 1 3-0. She also got the win in the nightcap, pitching the final four innings in relief, striking out six more.
“We’re just building character over and over and over again. This group never quits. Kristen didn’t have her best stuff, but she found a way to fight and keep us in the game. Drea (Morgan) had a great three innings, and we swung the bats well in Game 2.”
Itawamba scored three times in the first inning, but Sarah Brannan (Fr, Enterprise/Enterprise) made it 3-1 with an RBI bunt single in the second. Rakeya Travis (Fr, Poplarville/Poplarville) hit her second home run of the day in the third to tie the game at 3.
The Indians (9-5) scored twice in the fourth, aided by an error, and added another in the fifth. That set the stage for the Bulldog bats to come to life.
Jenn Perkins (So, Barbe/Lake Charles, La.) hit the first pitch of the sixth for a home run, and Kayla Cade (So, Harrison Central/Saucier) hit her own two pitches later to make it 6-5.
“It means so dang much,” Perkins said. “It shows how much strength and integrity we have. We have so much belief and trust we have in each other. We’ve been working on this since Day 1, and we just want to keep doing it.”
Renfroe and Brannan singled, and two outs later, Travis tied it up again with a dirt-burner up the middle.
“Two home runs, and then Addison hits a single up the middle and we’re able to get the run in scoring position and score it,” Neel said. “When you’ve got one of the best pitchers in the country to go out there and put a zero up, it’s pretty easy to get one run in the last inning.”
With two outs in the seventh, Renfroe took a pair of pitches to set up the deciding 2-0 delivery. Her line drive just cleared the left edge of the batter’s eye, setting off pandemonium.
She had three hits to lead the 13-hit attack. Brannan and Travis, who now has eight homers, had two hits each.
In the first game, the Bulldogs got a run in the third on an error, and Travis cranked a two-run homer in the fifth for some breathing room. She finished with two hits, as did Marsha’ Hunt (So, Philadelphia/Philadelphia).