Sophomore right-hander Thomas Boothe spun a nine-inning no-hitter to power the East Central Community College Warriors to a 4-0 opening game win in an MACJC baseball doubleheader sweep over the Northeast Tigers Saturday, April 6, at the Clark-Gay Baseball Complex on the ECCC campus in Decatur.
Redshirt freshman Dakota Kennedy (Choctaw Central) drove in five runs with a double and home run as East Central also won the seven-inning nightcap 9-2. Six East Central pitchers combined to limit the Tigers to just three hits in the second game.
East Central improved to 16-12 overall on the season and 9-5 in MACJC play. The sweep moved the Warriors all the way into a tie for fourth place in the 15-team MACJC standings. East Central has now won four straight games and eight of its last 10 outings.
Northeast dropped to 15-15 overall and 5-9 in the conference.
The 6-8 Boothe, a product of Bayside Academy in Fairhope, Ala., was dominant in the opening game win. He struck out 14 Northeast batters and set the Tigers down in order in five of the nine innings. He threw just 127 pitches in the game to pick up his fourth win of the season against just one loss. He also has a save. In 38 and two thirds innings on the mound this year, Boothe has 53 strikeouts.
East Central managed just five hits in the game, but made them count. The Warriors picked up the only run they would need in the bottom of the first. Freshman center fielder Al Dumas (Eupora) was hit by a pitch to open the game and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by sophomore second baseman Anderson Shelley (Greenville, Washington School). Dumas then stole third and scored on an RBI single by sophomore right fielder Ken Scott (Clarkdale).
The Warriors picked up insurance runs in the bottom of the fifth on a solo home run to right field by sophomore left fielder Ryan Cupit (West Monroe, La.) and then two runs on a walk and a hit batter with the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh.
With rain looming just beyond the ball park, East Central scored four runs in the bottom of the sixth to put the nightcap out of reach.
Trailing 1-0 heading to the bottom of the third, East Central took the lead in a three-run homer by Kennedy, his third of the season. East Central extended the lead to 4-1 in the next inning when freshman catcher Eli Harrison (Newton County) doubled in Cupit, who opened the inning with a single. The Warriors added another run in the fifth on a passed ball.
In the deciding bottom of the sixth, Kennedy doubled in two runs and later scored himself on a Northeast error. A two-out single from freshman first baseman Cameron Cotten (George County) gave East Central the final 9-2 win.
Kennedy and Scott each had three of East Central's 11 hits in the win.
Freshman right-hander Walker Johnson (East Webster) threw the first three and a third innings and got the win, giving up one run on no hits.
East Central heads to Poplarville to face No. 4 ranked 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.