After being outscored 38-11 by the nation's No. 4 ranked team just 24 hours earlier, the East Central Community College Warriors rebounded in a big way with an MACJC doubleheader sweep over the No. 14 ranked Hinds Eagles on Tuesday, April 16, at the Clark-Gay Baseball Complex in Decatur.
Rain makeups forced East Central to play two MACJC and nationally ranked teams on back-to-back days, with the Warriors dropping games to No. 4 Itawamba a day earlier by scores of 12-4 and 26-7. But the resilient Warriors hit the diamond on a mission against Hinds, grabbing a 13-3 five-inning run-rule win in game one and then a 3-0 shutout in the seven-inning nightcap.
With the sweep, East Central improves to 19-15 overall on the season and 12-8 in MACJC play. The two conference wins push the Warriors into sixth place in the league standings. No. 14 Hinds falls to 22-10 overall and 10-7 in conference play.
East Central used just two pitchers in getting the sweep, as sophomore left-hander Javian Stone (Jackson, Provine, Highland Community College) pitched a five-hitter in the opener and freshman right-hander Tanner Knight (Eupora) followed with a five-hitter in game two.
Alex Hay carried the big bat for the Warriors in the 13-3 opening game win. The sophomore catcher out of Lewisburg had five RBI on a single and a couple of doubles.
Hay got the Warriors on the scoreboard first with a two-out, two-run double in the bottom of the first inning. A two-run home run by Hinds tied the score 2-2 in the top of the third, and after that it was all Warriors.
Another Hay double in the bottom of the third drove in two more runs. Sophomore right fielder Ken Scott (Clarkdale) brought in a run with a sacrifice fly, a fielder's choice grounder by sophomore designated hitter Ryan Cupit (West Monroe, La.) scored a run, and freshman first baseman Evan Keith (Vancleave) gave East Central a 7-2 lead with a solo home run to left field.
The Warriors continued to build the lead in the fourth as Hay picked up his fifth RBI of the game with a single and Scott stole home. East Central ended the game by run-rule in the fifth as a Hinds' balk brought in a run and then back-to-back doubles by freshman center fielder Al Dumas (Eupora) and sophomore second baseman Anderson Shelley (Greenville, Washington School) plated three runs to end the game 13-3.
Shelley and Hay both had three-hit games for East Central.
Keith broke a scoreless tie in the nightcap with his second home run of the day, this one coming in the bottom of the third with one out. It would be the only run East Central would need. The Warriors tacked on a couple of insurance runs in the bottom of the fifth, as a single by Shelley scored freshman shortstop Roper Ball (Nanih Waiya) and Dumas who opened the inning with singles.
East Central will go out of conference to face Baton Rouge (La.) at 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. on Thursday, April 18. The Warriors will then play their next four MACJC doubleheaders on the road, beginning with Copiah-Lincoln in Wesson at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, April 24, and then Northwest in Senatobia at 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 27.
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.