Co-Lin softball wraps up 2024 MACCC conference title

Published 10:00 am Saturday, April 27, 2024

Last year the Mississippi Association of Community Colleges Conference (MACCC) began to award the annual conference title to the softball team with the best regular season record in lieu of playing another tournament ahead of the NJCAA Region 23 tournament, which decides who moves on to the NJCAA National Tournament.

On Wednesday in Raymond, the Copiah-Lincoln Wolves, the defending NJCAA Division II Na-tional Champions, secured their first conference title since the changes by the MACCC after defeat-ing Hinds Community College twice and moving their regular season conference record to 25-1 with two games remaining on Saturday at Coahoma (1-35).

“Our girls have stayed very consistent and have continued to push throughout what is an extremely long, difficult conference season,” said CLCC head coach Meleah Howard. “28 games is a lot of conference games and they have made sure they have been focused for every single game.”

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Co-Lin won a state title in 2022 by winning what would be the final MACCC state tournament in Ellisville.

The lone league blemish on the schedule this season for Co-Lin was a 9-1 loss on April 3 at Pearl River. The Wolves bounced back from that defeat to win game two of the day 12-10 in extra innings over PRCC.

Jones College and Pearl River follow the Wolves in the standings. Those two teams played in Pop-larville at PRCC on Wednesday with Pearl River taking game one 5-4 and Jones winning the nightcap 13-5.

The NJCAA Region 23 Tournament has been revamped, with the traditional eight team bracket now being split into two four-team tournaments that are double elimination. The winners of each of those tournaments will then play in a one-game, winner-take-all game to decide who wins the region. As the strongest region in Division II, Region 23 gets two automatic bids to the national tournament for both its champion and its runner-up.

Co-Lin knows it will host one of those four-team tournament pods, with opponents and game times to be determined after the conclusion of the regular season this weekend.

Howard’s team is now 38-3 overall and are on a 13-game win streak.

The long ball has been a tool for the CLCC offense to drive in runs this season as the team has shown power up and down the lineup.

On Wednesday in a 9-0 win over Hinds in game one, 4-foot-11 sophomore Leia Phillips (Choctaw Central), smashed a three-run home run in the second inning. The Wolves then got a two-run home run from freshman Taylor Efferson (Holden, La.) in the third inning to put CLCC ahead 5-0.

Hinds could muster only one hit against another brilliant pitching performance by Co-Lin’s sophomore ace Cara Biswell (Brandon High). Biswell also came in for the save in game two after what had been a 5-0 lead for the Wolves shrunk down to 5-3.

Biswell entered the game and got three-straight outs to secure the 5-3 victory.

Freshman Olivia Banes (Simpson Academy) hit a solo home run for the Wolves in the game two win.

On the season, the Co-Lin bats have produced 45 home runs in 40 games thus far. CLCC slugged a combined 56 home runs last year in 59 games in its march to the first national title in school his-tory.

Freshman pitcher Emily Richarde (Lakeland, Tn.) got the win in game two to move to 8-0 on the year. Freshman Kinley Ainsworth (Puckett High), freshman Emeri Warren (Leake Academy) and Efferson each had one RBI in the game two win.

Phillips had a team high four RBIs in the game one victory while Efferson drove in two runs and Carson Hughey (Loyd Star) and Ainsworth had one RBI each.

First pitch for Co-Lin in Clarksdale against Coahoma is set for 1 p.m.