The East Central Community College Warriors traveled south to Chalmette, La., to open the 2019 baseball season Wednesday, Feb. 13, and came home to Decatur with a doubleheader split with the NJCAA Division I Nunez Community College Pelicans.
The games were played at the Noel Suarez Stadium at Chalmette High School.
East Central won the opener 6-2, before falling to the Pelicans in the nightcap 6-3.
With the split, the Warriors open the season 1-1. Nunez is 4-3.
The new season opened with a bang for East Central as freshman designated hitter Al Dumas out of Eupora High School hit a solo home run in his first collegiate at-bat in the top of the first inning. Sophomore outfielder Ken Scott of Clarkdale followed three batters later with a two-run shot and a 3-0 Warrior lead.
Redshirt freshman center fielder Dakota Kennedy (Choctaw Central) plated a run in the third on a sacrifice fly that scored Scott. East Central added a pair of insurance runs in the top of the eighth on an RBI single from sophomore left fielder Ryan Cupit (West Monroe, La.) and a Nunez error.
The Warriors got a strong outing from sophomore pitcher Thomas Boothe, who prepped at Bayside Academy in Fairhope, Ala. The 6-8 right-hander got the win pitching five innings of no-hit baseball and striking out 10 batters. Three East Central pitchers combined to fan 15 batters over the nine innings, allowing only three hits.
East Central looked like it might go for the sweep, jumping out to a 2-0 lead over Nunez in the third inning of game two. Freshman designated hitter Cameron Cotten of George County doubled in George Farid (Mississauga, Ontario, Canada) who had walked and Cupit who had also doubled.
Nunez quickly rebounded with four runs in the bottom of the third on only two hits, while taking advantage of a Warrior fielding error and a balk.
East Central closed the gap to 4-3 in the next inning after freshman shortstop Roper Ball of Nanih Waiya doubled and then scored on a Scott single. Nunez ended the scoring in game two in the bottom of the frame with three runs on just one hit, four walked batters, and a passed ball.
Freshman right-hander Walker Johnson (East Webster) got the start for East Central and took the loss. He threw 3.1 innings, giving up five runs on five hits. Three Warrior pitchers walked six batters in the seven-inning contest, while putting up another nine strikeouts.
East Central left 10 runners on base in the 6-3 game two loss.
Cupit picked up four hits on the afternoon in seven official trips to the plate, while Scott led the Warriors with three RBI.
The Warriors will next be in action Sunday, Feb. 17, when they host Jefferson College (Mo.) in the home opener at the Clark/Gay Baseball Complex on the campus in Decatur. First pitch is 1 p.m. Jefferson College is ranked No. 5 in the NJCAA Division I Top 20.
East Central will then entertain Lawson State (Ala.) on Tuesday, Feb. 19, in a doubleheader that begins at 2 p.m. The annual Rush Invitational will be Feb. 22-23 at the Clark/Gay Baseball Complex. The Warriors will play a doubleheader against Wallace State-Hanceville (Ala.) beginning at 3 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 22, and Wallace State and Baton Rouge Community College will play two games on Saturday, Feb. 23, starting at 2 p.m.