East Central Community College closed out its 2019 regular season with a sweep of the Coahoma Tigers and now sets its sights on a National Junior College Athletic Association Region 23 baseball playoff series at No. 5 ranked Pearl River May 9-10 in Poplarville.
The Warriors beat Coahoma 12-6 and 14-1 on Sunday, May 5, at the Clark-Gay Baseball Complex in Decatur.
It was Sophomore Day as 12 Warrior sophomore players were recognized between games. Because the doubleheader was originally scheduled to be played on Coahoma's home field in Clarksdale but was moved to Decatur due to wet field conditions, the Tiger sophomores were also honored.
East Central finished the regular season with a 22-21 overall record and 15-13 in the league. Coahoma finishes 20-26 overall and 6-22 in the conference.
The Warriors will now face Pearl River in a best two-of-three series beginning at 6 p.m. on Thursday, May 9, at Dub Herring Park on the PRCC campus in Poplarville. Game two will begin at 2 p.m. on Friday, May 10. Game three, if necessary, would follow. All games at Pearl River can be watched online at www.prccmedia.com.
The two teams split back on April 10 with East Central winning game one 8-2 and the Wildcats winning the nightcap 2-1. Pearl River is 34-11 overall and finished league play with a 19-11 record.
The winner between East Central and Pearl River will advance to the NJCAA Region 23 Tournament May 15-19 at Itawamba Community College in Fulton.
It will be the 10th straight year East Central has competed in postseason play.
Itawamba was crowned the 2019 MACJC State Champion for having the best overall league record during the regular season and has earned a bye and the right to host the double-elimination NJCAA Region 23 Tournament as the top seed.
The next eight teams in the MACJC standings are facing off in best-of-three NJCAA Region 23 playoff series May 10-11 to determine which four join Itawamba and LSU-Eunice in the Region 23 Tournament.
East Central had to erase an early 4-0 deficit in game one against Coahoma as the Tigers put four runners across the plate in the first inning. With an opportunity to move up a seed in the Region Tournament with a sweep, the Warriors responded with three runs in the top of the third, sixth, and seventh innings, and two in the fifth.
East Central pounded out 16 hits including four doubles in the win. Redshirt freshman center fielder Dakota Kennedy (Choctaw Central) was 4-for-6 at the plate, with a couple of doubles and four RBI to lead the way. Freshman catcher Eli Harrison (Newton County) had three RBI, going 2-for-3 at the plate with a double. Sophomores Ken Scott (Clarkdale), Alex Hay (Lewisburg), and George Farid (Mississauga, Ontario, Canada) each had two hits.
Sophomore right-hander Will Ross (Hernando) picked up the win in relief with two and a third innings of work.
The Warriors collected another 16 hits in the nightcap, scoring in each of the five innings of the run-rule 16-1 win. Scott carried the hot bat for East Central in game two, going 4-for-4 with three singles and a three-run homer in the top of the first. Sophomore second baseman Anderson Shelley (Greenville, Washington School) was 4-for-5 with two RBI, while Farid knocked in three runs with a pair of singles and a double.
Freshman Roper Ball (Nanih Waiya) got his first start of the year on the mound and picked up the win. He threw the first three innings and gave up one run on one hit.
The sophomore players on the 2019 East Central Community College baseball team were honored between games with Coahoma May 5 at the Clark-Gay Baseball Complex. Those honored and their respective high schools were (from left) infielder George Farid, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada; pitcher Thomas Boothe, Bayside Academy, Fairhope, Ala.; outfielder Ryan Cupit, West Monroe High School, La.; pitcher Austin Braswell, Presbyterian Christian School, Hattiesburg; catcher Alex Hay, Lewisburg; infielder Jay Johnston, Lake; pitcher Woody Vowell, Choctaw County; infielder/pitcher Will Ross, Hernando; outfielder Ken Scott, Clarkdale; infielder Anderson Shelley, Washington School, Greenville; pitcher Chance Shepherd, George County; and pitcher Javian Stone, Provine, Jackson. (EC Photo)