ELLISVILLE – Down to the final out of the seventh and eighth innings, No. 7 Mississippi Gulf Coast did what it did over and over to No. 6 Itawamba at this weekend's MACJC Tournament.
"That's jus the type of team we are. We just never stop. We're always pushing through and persevering."
Gulf Coast (39-11), which scored all 10 runs against ICC (39-12-1) over two games with two outs, rallied from a winners' bracket loss to No. 1 Jones County earlier in the day to advance to the championship round Sunday. The Lady Bulldogs face the Lady Bobcats needing to win twice. The first game starts at 1 p.m.
"Tomorrow's a new day," Lady Bulldogs coach Kenneth Long said. "We're going to come out and relax and play the best we can. I like our chances."
Nora Keehn (So, Thibodaux, La./Vandebilt Catholic) scattered five hits in her complete game, striking out five and walking only one. And she really enjoyed herself in a pressure situation.
"Amazing. It was so fun," the University of West Alabama signee said. "Everybody was having fun. We went out there and said we've got nothing to lose."
After allowing a first-inning run, Nichols led off the second with a double. She scored on a two-out passed ball to tie it up.
Itawamba pushed back in front in the fifth, but Keehn (21-5) retired nine of the last 10 batters she faced to give the Lady Bulldogs a chance. The only baserunner was a two-out walk in the eighth.
"I was really just trying to get the ball on the ground to get people moved and get them in scoring position," she said.
"Thinking back to my previous at-bats, I was really anxious at the plate," said the University of Mobile signee. "I was a lot more relaxed and more myself as a hitter. I was just trying to hit a hard ground ball and put it in a hole somewhere."
Long said his team practices two-out situations all the time, and their comfort showed in a 7-6 win Friday and Saturday's clutch performance.
"This team is so resilient," he said. "I can't put into words what they just did. Nora stayed focused. The last couple of three innings she really shut them down. Cam came in and played well and got the winning run"
Game 1: Gulf Coast 7, Itawamba 6
Game 2: Jones County 9, East Central 0, 5 innings
Game 3: Jones County 10, Gulf Coast 2, 6 innings
Game 4: Itawamba 4, East Central 2
Game 5: Gulf Coast 3, Itawamba 2, 8 innings
Game 6: Jones County vs. Gulf Coast, 1 p.m.
Game 7: If necessary, 30 minutes later
For more information on MGCCC's 10 intercollegiate athletic teams, follow @MGCCCAthletics on Twitter and BulldogLIVE on Facebook, and go to mgcccbulldogs.com.