BILOXI — Precious Sanders broke out of a short slump to power No. 7 Mississippi Gulf Coast to a 7-5 victory over Northeast, closing out a first-round MACJC playoff sweep at Biloxi High School.
She clocked a two-run second-inning home run to open the scoring, then tacked on a critical insurance run with a seventh-inning RBI single.
"We got her some extra BP this morning," Gulf Coast coach Kenneth Long said. "She hit the ball hard three times, one of them that home run that got us going. Then we got three bunts in that one inning and got those kids in, too. It was really good for Precious to get us going."
Gulf Coast improves to 37-10 on the season and will play Itawamba in the MACJC Tournament in Ellisville on Friday. Host Jones County will play East Central in the other game.
The top three teams advance to the Region 23 Tournament, which will be hosted by the winner of the state tournament. That means teams must win one of their first two games to advance.
Sanders gave Gulf Coast a 2-0 lead with the big hit, then the Lady Bulldogs expanded the lead with some small ball. Camry Griffith (So, Taylorsville/Taylorsville), Brittney Triplett (Fr, Brandon/Brandon) and Abbey Salvo (Fr, Brandon/Brandon) all reached on bunts to start the third, with Griffith scoring on an error on the Salvo's bunt.
Molly Murphy's RBI single in the fifth made it 6-0, and she had two hits in both games of the series.
Dill and Nichols also had two hits, and Nichols had a double.
"We've got players hurt and people playing different positions," Sanders said. "It just shows how strong our team in and win making those sacrifices."
Meanwhile, Aidan Nichols (Fr, Brandon/Brandon) continued her run as a strikeout machine. She struck out 15 more batters, giving her 45 in her last three games. She allowed only five hits, but two of those were home runs.
"Your want to be on a high going into the state tournament up at Jones, so it's a good win for us," Long said. "I'd like for us not to have given up as many runs as we did this game, but our team put up runs. I think we've got a good mindset."
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