PERKINSTON — Mississippi Gulf Coast opens the softball postseason Friday with a trip to Ellisville for a best-of-three series against Jones County.
The Lady Bobcats (41-3, 24-2 MACJC) are ranked fourth in the country and are the second seed in the conference playoffs. That presents a challenge for the Lady Bulldogs (22-14, 17-11), but it's one they welcome.
"I think our players are looking forward to it. It will be a challenge going up there because they are a solid team. They always play well there, but I think we'll be OK."
First pitch Friday is a 6 p.m., with Game 2 scheduled for 1 p.m. on Saturday. Game 3, if necessary, will follow immediately after. The games will be streamed at http://www.jcjc.tv.
JCJC swept the regular-season doubleheader 4-0 and 10-2 at Biloxi High School, but Gulf Coast has made big strides since then.
Avery Sanders (Fr, E.D. White/Thibodaux, La.) allowed only two earned runs in that first game. She's 7-3 since with a 3.73 ERA.
Betty Mingo has become the Lady Bulldogs' No. 2 starter, and she's 3-0 with a 1.10 ERA in her last three outings.
Gulf Coast won five of its last six regular-season games. The Lady Bulldogs need the pitching staff to stand tall and the defense to make routine plays.
"First of all, we've gotten better hitting the ball 1 through 9," Long said. "Our pitching turned around for us and has gotten better. We've gotten more complete games from our starting pitchers, which is a big deal."
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