The East Central Community College Warriors picked up an important early season MACJC conference baseball sweep over the Mississippi Delta Trojans Saturday, March 23, at the Clark-Gay Baseball Complex in Decatur.
East Central jumped on the Trojans for seven runs in the first two innings and then held on for a 7-2 win in the nine-inning game one, as five Warrior pitchers combined for a two-hitter. In the nightcap, the Warriors had to twice battle back from three-run deficits for an 8-7 win in seven innings.
The wins were especially important for East Central as the Warriors improved to 3-3 in MACJC play and a tie for seventh in the league standings. The Warriors are 10-10 overall. With the losses, Mississippi Delta fell to 10-10 overall and 2-4 in the conference.
The team with the best conference record at the end of the season is crowned state champion. The next eight teams play NJCAA Region 23 playoff series to determine the field for the region tournament.
The Warriors scored six more runs in the bottom of the second to extend the lead to 7-0. Sophomore left fielder Ryan Cupit (West Monroe, La.) had a two-run double, sophomore second baseman Anderson Shelley (Greenville, Washington School) had an infield single that brought in a run, and sophomore right fielder Ken Scott (Clarkdale) got an RBI on a sacrifice line drive to right center. Two more runs scored on a bases-loaded walk and hit batter.
East Central was kept off the scoreboard the final seven innings, but five Warrior pitchers combined to limit Mississippi Delta to just two hits and two runs.
Freshman right-hander Walker Johnson (East Webster) got the start and the win. He threw the first three and two thirds innings, giving up one hit and no runs while striking out four batters.
The Trojans scored three runs in the top of the first in the nightcap to grab a quick 3-0 lead. But East Central knotted the score with three runs of its own in the bottom of the frame. Scott singled in Kennedy who had reached on an error. Sophomore catcher Alex Hay (Lewisburg) followed with a two-run homer to center field.
Mississippi Delta scored three more runs in the top of the second to take a 6-3 lead. From there, the Warriors started chipping away at the lead.
Scott got two of the runs back with a two-run home run in the bottom of the third. The Warriors took the lead in the next inning as Shelley drove in two runs with a single and later scored himself on an error to give East Central an 8-6 lead.
Mississippi Delta pulled to within one run on a solo home run in the fifth.
The Trojans appeared to be in position to at least tie the game in the top of the seventh with the bases loaded and only one out before East Central right-hander Tanner Knight (Eupora) ended the game with two strike outs.
Knight picked up the save. Sophomore left-hander Javian Stone (Jackson, Provine, Highland Community College) got the win with two and a third innings of middle relief.
Scott and sophomore shortstop Jay Johnston (Lake) had four of East Central's eight hits in the game.
East Central travels to Summit to face Southwest at 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. on Wednesday, March 27. East Mississippi will visit Decatur on Saturday, March 30, for a doubleheader which begins at 2 p.m.
Most East Central home baseball games can be heard on WKOZ "Cruisin" 98.3 or watched via live stream video at www.eccc.edu/eccc-media.
East Central freshman Al Dumas (Eupora) slides head first into third base with first inning triple in game one against Mississippi Delta.