MCC looking to break pattern
ON THE SLIDE / MCC's Kaylora Bingham (33), shown here sliding against Central Alabama, provides punch for the Lady Eagles. Photo by Paula Merritt / The Meridian Star
By Marty Stamper / EMG sports assistant
May 15, 2002
KISSIMMEE, Fla. The Meridian Community College Lady Eagles will be making their third consecutive appearance in the NJCAA Division I Fast-Pitch Softball National Championship when play gets under way here on Thursday.
One thing MCC would like to change from its first two trips here is to start the event with a victory.
In 2000, the Lady Eagles lost their opener to No. 1 Central Arizona College 6-5. El Paso sent MCC home in a hurry with a 7-0 spanking in the second round as MCC posted a 41-13 season.
Last year, MCC lost its opener 6-1 to St. Louis-Meramec before sending Seminole (Okla.) State College and Indian Hills (Iowa) Community College to the house with 1-0 and 7-2 losses, respectively. The Lady Eagles then fell 5-1 to Chattanooga (Tenn.) State Technical Community College to finish 40-15.
This year, MCC, 35-27, draws 29-16 Briarcliffe College of Bethpage, N.Y. as its first-round opponent. Briarcliffe is making its third trip to the Deep South this spring, having played in a tournament at LaGrange, Ga., in early March and returning three weeks later to play in Florida. Five of Briarcliffe's games were with 2001 national runner-up Gulf Coast (Fla.) Community College with the New Yorkers going 1-4.
Briarcliffe is no stranger to Florida or Kissimmee for that matter. The New Yorkers played a four-game series with Gulf Coast (Fla.) March 27-30, going 1-3. Gulf Coast won 8-0, 3-0, and 10-2 with Briarcliffe taking a 2-0 victory.
Gulf Coast also beat Briarcliffe 5-2 at LaGrange, Ga., on March 9 in the NFCA Lead-Off Classic.
The Long Island team also played in the 2001 national tournament, losing 3-2 to Indian Hills (Iowa) Community College and 4-3 to Utah Valley State College.
MCC's strengths are its defense and pitching. The Lady Eagles have a .951 team fielding percentage, while the pitching staff has a 2.46 ERA.
The Lady Eagles' team batting average is only .264 with Stephanie Dixon's sizzling .433 clip nearly 140 points better than second-best Morgan Wright's .294.