The East Central Community College Warriors picked up an important MACJC doubleheader sweep over the visiting No. 7 Jones College Bobcats Tuesday, April 2, at the Clark-Gay Baseball Complex on the ECCC campus in Decatur.
East Central built a 4-0 lead through seven innings in the opener and then survived a late Bobcat rally for a 5-4 win. Four Warrior pitchers held the Bobcats to just four hits in the nightcap as East Central got a 6-2 win for the MACJC sweep.
East Central improved to 14-12 overall on the season and 7-5 in MACJC play. The Warriors are in seventh place in the 15-team league. Jones fell to 21-7 overall and 6-6 in the conference.
In the opener, East Central got single runs in the second, third, fifth and seventh innings to move in front 4-0.
The Warriors scored on a bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the second inning. Infield singles by sophomore right fielder Ken Scott (Clarkdale) and sophomore third baseman George Farid (Mississauga, Ontario, Canada) and a walk to sophomore catcher Alex Hay (Lewisburg) loaded the bases, before freshman first baseman Evan Keith (Vancleave) walked to bring in a run.
The Warriors extended the lead to 2-0 in the next inning when Hay doubled in sophomore second baseman Anderson Shelley (Greenville, Washington School), who had opened the inning with a single. A Farid double brought in another run in the bottom of the fifth to give East Central a 3-0 lead. Farid got another RBI in the seventh on a single that scored Scott, who had singled.
The Bobcats made the game interesting with two runs in the top of the eighth to close the gap to 4-2. East Central picked up what would be the winning run in the bottom of the frame when Shelley stole home with two outs to give the Warriors a 5-2 lead. Jones scored twice in the top of the ninth to make the final score 5-4.
Sophomore left-hander Javian Stone (Jackson, Provine, Highland Community College) had a strong start on the mound for East Central, going six and a third innings and giving up five hits and no runs. Freshman right-hander Thomas Boothe (Fairhope, Bayside Academy) came on in relief in the top of the ninth with two on and no outs to close out the game and get the save.
Farid lead the Warriors with three hits in game one, while Hay, Scott, and Shelley had two each.
Freshman pitchers Tanner Knight (Eupora), Braxton Rose (Newton County Academy), and Roper Ball (Nanih Waiya) and sophomore Austin Braswell (Hattiesburg, Presbyterian Christian) combined to limit Jones to just four hits and two runs in the seven-inning 6-2 game two win.
East Central got a single run in the bottom of the first on a Shelley double. Two more runs crossed the plate in the third. Freshman left fielder Dakota Kennedy (Choctaw Central) opened the inning with a single and later scored on a Farid single. Another run scored on a passed ball.
After Jones closed the gap to 3-2 in the top of the fifth, Farid, who was five of seven at the plate on the day, singled in another run, his fourth of the doubleheader. Shelley, who also had a big day at the plate with four hits in eight trips to the plate, singled in two runs in the seventh to make the final score 6-2.
Rose was credited with the win on the mound. Kennedy led East Central with three hits.
East Central hosts Northeast at 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 6, before heading to Poplarville to face Pearl River in a doubleheader beginning at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, April 10. The Warriors will then host No. 6 ranked Itawamba at 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. on Saturday, April 13, in Decatur.
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.