(David Jenkins, Staff)
Seniors Brandi Gardner, Shelby Lawrence and Courtney Robinson were honored with plaques before the game and then all played a part in NMCC's win over South Pemiscot. The victory puts the senior's record at 53-11 over the last four seasons with seven of those losses coming their freshman season.
"I don't regret it, that's for one thing," Robinson said. "I'm glad I stuck it out and played all four years and had a great season all four years. I've grown to love the girls and (Coach Rogers) is like our dad. He always says 'if we find anybody that treats us better than he does, marry them.' We've had fun."
"It's been a real pleasure having them," Rogers said. "They're all great girls and it's been a real pleasure having them. I got emotional trying to hand out the plaques. I've known those girls since junior high and when you've been around them six or seven years, they are like part of your family."
Robinson and Lawrence have both started all four years, Robinson in right field and Lawrence behind the plate. Gardner has played outfield and first base for the Lady Eagles. However, their presence was felt with more than just their on-the-field production and Tuesday was the perfect example.
Lawrence was removed in the fifth inning and replaced at catcher by freshman Nikki Martin. The senior stood at the dugout fence, watching every pitch and then talked to Martin between innings, giving her pointers on how to catch junior pitcher Kelly Robey.
"From the minute Nicki tried out I've been trying to help her," Lawrence said. "She's going to be my replacement next year and Kelly's got to be able to trust her."
"(The seniors) have done a great job of leading all year long, not only by the way they play but also by helping the younger girls," Rogers said. "We are just one big family and like a family you have your ups and downs and get into it. I say some things they don't like, they do some things I don't like but in the end we're all pulling that chain the same direction."
The Lady Eagles were firing on all cylinders early against South Pemiscot. After taking a 1-0 lead in the first, NMCC broke the game open in the second inning, plating five runs, helped by a triple from Samantha Hunter and singles from Anna Manley and Meredith Stanley.
The Lady Eagles grabbed a 10-0 lead, heading into the bottom of the fifth as Robey was dominate on the mound, striking out the first 12 batters she faced. However, the Lady Bulldogs caught up to Robey in the fifth, scoring three runs in the frame, helped by doubles from Shelby Hubley and Gabrielle Mays.
NMCC finished the game off in the bottom of the sixth when Dallas Campbell hit a bases loaded double just off the outstretched glove of Mays in left field, clearing the bases and ending the game with the 10-run rule.
"South Pem is a formidable opponent," Rogers said. "They play in the Bootheel Conference and are one of the better teams down there. They put a few balls in play today and scored a few runs. It was a good competitive ballgame and I was glad to see us get three there at the end to finish it in six."
Robey earned the win, striking out 17 in the game while walking two and giving up two hits.
Campbell had two doubles in the game for NMCC while Anna Manley finished 3-for-4.
NMCC (16-0) will be back in action on Thursday when they travel to Senath to take on Senath-Hornersville. A win would give the Lady Eagles their third perfect season under Rogers, something they have been shooting for all season.
"We're looking forward to Senath," Rogers said. "We're one step away from what we've been pointing to all year. Hopefully we can get through this last game, take care of business and finish what we started out to do. We're going to try to send (our seniors) out on a positive note."
South Pemiscot 000 030 -- 3 2 6
NMCC 153 103 -- 13 9 0
WP -- Kelly Robey (14-0). LP --Meagan Ramirez. Multiple hitters -- (N) Anna Manley 3-4, Dallas Campbell 2-5. 2B -- (SP) Shelby Hubley, Gabrielle Mays; (N) Campbell 2, Katie Rausch. 3B -- (N) Samantha Hunter.