Gulf Coast, Pearl River split softball doubleheader
SUN HERALDThe 5-3 defeat was the Lady Bulldogs' first loss of the season after blowing out the Lady Wildcats 9-0 in Game 1, the team's first game at Ross-Smith Field this season."We've just got to regroup and come back," Gulf Coast coach Kenneth Long said. "That just wasn't us. You've got to give them credit. They played us hard. Everybody is going to play us hard."Gulf Coast returns to action Friday when Itawamba visits. First pitch is at 2 p.m.Freshman shortstop Lexie Mathis' two-run homer in her first at bat in Perkinston jump-started the Lady Bulldogs in the first game.She added an RBI single in the third, followed by another by Deborah Elmore to make it 4-0. Mathis scored on a passed ball later in the inning.Brittany Cooley had a three-run homer in the fourth after a pair of doubles earlier in the game."I stayed in the cage late last night," she said. "I knew coming in to conference we had to be dominant. I didn't do it so much the second game, but I wanted to do it for the coaches. They do so much for us."Mathis, Cooley and Elmore had three safeties to lead the 13-hit assault. Hannah Melendrez added two hits.Kaitlin Lee struck out eight and allowed only two third-inning hits to improve to 9-0.Gulf Coast twice saw one-run leads evaporate in Game 2. Jennifer Walker drew a bases-loaded walk in the second inning.But Pearl River immediately got a solo home run by Katie Davis and an RBI double by Briana Leonard to take a 2-1 lead.Elmore tied the score with an RBI single in bottom of the third, and the Bulldogs would load the bases with nobody out, but got only one more run on an Izzy Werdann walk."That hurt us," Long said. "We had the bases loaded twice. We hit the ground ball to third, and it was an easy out at the plate that didn't score."A strikeout and another groundout ended the threat.Pearl River (11-6) rallied for three runs in the fifth, the entire rally starting with nobody out. Five consecutive batters reached via hit or walk."We had two up and two down in that big inning, nobody on, and we give up six straight hits," Long said. "You can't do that. When you don't do what you're supposed to do and do the little things, you're gonna lose. And we lost."Gulf Coast didn't get a hit the rest of the way."We've got to learn to deal with adversity now," Cooley said. "We haven't had to deal with that yet."