It was almost déjà vu all over again for the Jones County Junior College softball team.
The 8th-ranked Lady Bobcats rallied from a 6-2 deficit to stun the homestanding and 7th-ranked Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College Lady Bulldogs 9-6 here Monday evening at Ross-Smith to claim their second consecutive MACJC softball championship.
Last year, the Lady Bobcats were down 5-1 entering the bottom of the seventh before coming back to beat Northeast Mississippi, 6-5, to win the title.
And to top it off, Seminary sophomore rightfielder Rebecca Dunn had what proved to be the game-winning hit vs. MGCCC – just like she did last year vs. Northeast when JCJC won the title at Itawamba.
The Lady Bobcats are now 39-6 and will head to the Region 23 Tournament at Traceway Park in Clinton. They will meet Itawamba at 4 p.m. on Thursday in their opening game.
MGCCC, 33-9, will face Pearl River and East Central plays LSU-Eunice in other first round games that will also be played at 4 p.m. A complete region tourney bracket will be posted later.
The top two teams advance to the NJCAA Division II National Tournament, which will also be in Clinton May 15-18.
Earlier on Monday, the Lady Bobcats edged Pearl River 3-2 to reach the championship game, while Miss. Gulf Coast eliminated East Central, 7-3.
Lady Bobcats 9, Lady Bulldogs 6
JCJC head coach Chris Robinson compared the game to a heavyweight boxing match with each team landing punches. But JCJC would deliver the knockout punch in their final at-bat.
The Lady Bobcats scored twice in the top of the first, but MGCCC rallied for three runs in the bottom of the first, scored twice in the second and once in the third to take a 6-2 lead.
But JCJC responded with three runs in the fourth and one in the fifth to tie the game.
That set up the seventh inning where the Lady Bobcats did all of their damage with two outs.
First, Brooke David singled and was replaced by courtesy runner Angela Land. Makenzie Hawkins singled and Dunn followed with an RBI single to score Land. Kalyn McNabb then came through with a two-run single to give the Lady Bobcats some insurance.
In the bottom of the seventh, MGCCC got a leadoff single from Emily Davis, but Michele Hester came back to get a strikeout and a groundout. With two outs, Hester got MGCCC's Reina Baluja to fly out to Dunn in rightfield and the Lady Bobcats began their celebration.
The Lady Bobcats took a 2-0 lead in the first when CC Lawn led off with a bloop double into shallow left field. Relanda McFarland reached on a bunt single and stole second base. Bethany Volking's fielder's choice scored Lawn. Karley Crosby would then hit into a double play, but McFarland came in to score.
MGCCC came back when Lea Kittrell walked and Emily Davis singled. Morgan Fairley then reached on a bunt that was errored to load the bases with no outs. Brooke Gaston drove in a run with a sacrifice fly and Davis scored on a wild pitch. Dani Craft's infield hit scored Fairley to make it 3-2.
The Lady Bulldogs made it 5-2 in the second when Catherine Campbell singled and Davis homered off the scoreboard over the rightfield fence.
MGCCC took a 6-2 lead in the third. Gaston reached on an error and Baluja reached on a fielder's choice. Craft then had an RBI single.
But JCJC would have a three-run, two-out rally in the fourth to trim the lead to 6-5.
David singled and was replaced by Land. Hawkins singled and Dunn walked to load the bases. McNabb reached on an infield single to score Land and Reagan Gavin delivered a two-run single.
The Lady Bobcats tied it in the fifth when Lawn led off with a single and was sacrificed to second by McFarland. Volking singled and Crosby followed with an RBI single to right.
Hester, 14-4, entered with one out in the third and shut down MGCCC the rest of the way to post the win. She gave up three hits and struck out one. Starter Samantha Buller allowed six runs, six hits and walked one.
Lawn had two doubles and a single for JCJC, while David, Hawkins and McNabb each singled twice. McFarland, Volking, Crosby, Dunn and Gavin added singles.
Baluja went the distance and took the loss. She gave up 14 hits, nine runs, walked two and struck out two.
Davis homered and singled three times for MGCCC, while Craft had two singles. Baluja had a double, while Campbell and Shalaria Pickens had singles.
Lady Bobcats 3, Lady Wildcats 2
The Lady Bobcats trailed 2-0 entering the bottom of the fifth inning when they broke through for the game-winning rally.
Lawn led off the inning with a single. After a strikeout, Volking ripped a double inside the third base bag. After a flyout, David reached on a hot-shot, infield single to third base, which scored Lawn.
Hawkins then followed with a two-run double to deep left to put JCJC ahead 3-2.
Pearl River took a 1-0 lead in the third when Shannon Brown walked and was sacrificed to second by Whitney Waits. Megan Scronce singled and Emily Jackson was hit by a pitch. Kelsea Lewis' sacrifice fly to right scored Brown.
The Lady Wildcats made it 2-0 in the top of the fifth when Waits singled and advanced to second on a popped up bunt. Jackson then doubled off the left field wall to score Waits.
Buller, 23-2, went the distance and posted the victory. She allowed two runs, six hits, walked three and struck out four.
Lawn had a double and two singles, while Hawkins had two doubles for JCJC. Volking had a double, while McFarland, David and Dunn had singles.
Brittany LeBlanc went the distance and took the loss for Pearl River. She gave up three runs, nine hits, walked one and struck out seven.
Waits singled twice for the Lady Wildcats, while Scronce, Jackson, Lewis and Kaci Lantrip singled.
Jones County 3, Pearl River 2
Pearl River (25-21) 001 010 0 – 2 6 0
Jones County (38-6) 000 030 x – 3 9 0
Brittany LeBlanc and Kelsea Lewis. Samantha Buller and Brooke David. WP-Buller (23-2). LP-LeBlanc. PRCC hitters: Whitney Waits 2 1B; Megan Scronce 1B; Emily Jackson 1B; Kelsea Lewis 1B; Kaci Lantrip 1B. JCJC hitters: CC Lawn 2B, 2 1B; Makenzie Hawkins 2 2B; Bethany Volking 2B; Relanda McFarland 1B; Brooke David 1B; Rebecca Dunn 1B. LOB – PRCC 7; JCJC 7. T-2:09.
Jones County 9, Miss. Gulf Coast 6
Jones County (39-6) 200 310 3 – 9 14 1
Miss. Gulf Coast (32-9) 321 000 0 – 6 9 0
Samantha Buller, Michele Hester (3) and Brooke David. Reina Baluja and Dani Craft. WP-Hester (14-4). LP-Baluja. JCJC hitters: CC Lawn 2 2B, 1B; Brooke David 2 1B; Makenzie Hawkins 2 1B; Kalyn McNabb 2 1B; Relanda McFarland 1B; Bethany Volking 1B; Karley Crosby 1B; Rebecca Dunn 1B; Reagan Gavin 1B. MGCCC hitters: Emily Davis HR, 3 1B; Dani Craft 2 1B; Reina Baluja 2B Shalaria Pickens 1B; Catherine Campbell 1B. LOB – JCJC 7; MGCCC 5. T – 2:00.