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Mother Nature may have threw the Northeast Mississippi Community College softball team a curve by forcing the postponement of its season opener against Blue Mountain Collegetwice and causing a switch in the schedule at the Patriot Bash Invitational in Muscle Shoals, Ala.
However, the Lady Tigers were able to step up in the box and connect for a pair of wins in the Patriot Bash.
Northeast picked up its first win of the year with a 6-4 decision over defending national champion Muskegon (Mich.) Community College and knocked off host Northwest-Shoals (Ala.) 4-1 in the nightcap of the second day.
Jody Long’s Lady Tigers are more than a month ahead of their pace from the 2010 season where it took the Lady Tigers until a sweep of Spoon River CommunityCollege on March 17, 2010 to register their second win of the year.
Northeast (2-3) dropped its first contest of the two-day tournament and season opener to Jefferson State (Ala.) Community College when the Lady Pioneers were able to score six runs in the sixth in taking a 7-1 decision over the Lady Tigers.
Northeast had kept it close up to the sixth and the Lady Tiger actually jumped out ahead of the Lady Pioneers with a run in their first at bat of the season.
Jefferson State battled back and knotted the game at 1-all in the second and the gamestayed tied until the Lady Pioneers were able to scramble across six runs in the sixth for the decisive digits.
In the second game, Northeast scored a monumental win against a national power as the Lady Tigers were able to rebound from their season-opening loss and knock of the National Junior College Athletic Association’s (NJCAA) Division II defending National Champion Muskegon (Mich.) Community College.
During the 2010 season, Muskegon posted a 59-9 record en route to a 2-0 win over Kankakee in the national championship game and knocked off the Lady Tigers in the Patriot Bash 3-2 to begin the 2010 season.
Northeast was able to scratch back in the latter parts of the contest to pick up its first win of the year as the Lady Tigers overcame a 3-2 deficit with a four-run sixth and held on for the victory.
Northeast banged out 15 hits against the defending national champions including four Lady Tigers with three base knocks apiece.
Raleigh Downs, Kimberly Jumper, Katie Beth Dahlem and Haley Knepp all had three hits each for the Lady Tigers in their win over Muskegon on the opening day of the tournament.
Jumper’s three-hit performance against Muskegon capped a five-hit day for the Northeast freshman that included a single and a double against Jefferson State. On the day, Jumper finished with three singles and two doubles in her first two collegiate games.
During second day action, Northeast looked to have sealed up its second win on theyoung season in the first game on Saturday against Snead State (Ala.) but a dropped infield fly in the bottom of the seventh handed the 4-3 victory to the LadyParsons.
Northeast battled back to knot the contest at 3-all in the seventh with two runs in its final at bat only to see Snead State walk away with the win when the Lady Tigers dropped an infield fly at first allowing the winning run to score from third.
Northeast felt the sting of back-to-back defeats as the Lady Tigers dropped a 5-0 decision to Gadsden State (Ala.) in the middle game of three on the second day of the tournament.
However, Northeast was able to ride the arm of Jaisa Fox to tally its second win as many days as Fox limited the Northwest-Shoals’ batters to just six hits and a single run.
Afterallowing Northwest-Shoals a run in the fourth, Northeast responded during its at bat overcoming the one-run deficit with a four-run inning capped by a Taylor Moore RBI-single.
Northeast will look to carry its momentum from the Patriot Bash into the Rush Invitational in Meridian on Friday, February 17 and Saturday, February 18.