After winning the best-of-three series with North top seed East Mississippi Community College May 2-3 in Scooba, East Central Community College’s baseball team can now set its sights on claiming a second-straight MACJC State Baseball Championship.
The Diamond Warriors, who qualified for the post-season playoff series as the No. 4 South squad, rallied for a 4-3 win over the home standing Lions in first-round action Friday, May 2, fell 7-1 in the second contest Saturday afternoon, then rebounded for a resounding 12-3 victory in the rubber game Saturday night to advance to this week’s state tournament at Northeast Mississippi Community College in Booneville.
East Central begins the double-elimination event by taking on Hinds Community College at noon Thursday, May 8. Jones County and the host Tigers battle at 4 p.m.
A pair of elimination games are on tap for Friday, May 9, with the losers of games one and two meeting at 10 a.m. The loser of that contest concludes their season while the winner secures its spot in the Region 23 Tournament.
The two winners of Thursday’s matchups battle at 1 p.m. with a berth to the title game on the line. The loser of that game must rebound quickly for an elimination contest set to begin at 4 p.m.
The 2014 MACJC State Championship game will begin at noon Saturday, May 10 with an “if necessary contest” to follow at approximately 3 p.m.
All games are nine-inning contests.
Admission is $5 each day at Harold T. White Field. Tournament T-shirts will also be on sale for $15 while special game-day programs cost $2 at the entrance.
For more information on the 2014 MACJC State Baseball Tournament, visit the “Tournament Central” page at www.nemccathletics.com.
EAST CENTRAL 4, EAST MS 3
Chance Whitten’s two-out, two-run double in the eighth inning provided the Diamond Warriors with a 4-3 victory over eighth-ranked East MS Friday, May 2 to begin the best-of-three series at the Lions’ Gerald Poole Field.
Whitten is a product of South Panola High School.
Maxwell Harmon also had a hot bat for the Diamond Warriors, as the Enterprise High School product belted a home run in the first inning and singled in the seventh.
Other hitters were Kyle McCullough of Madison Ridgeland Academy, two singles and RBI; and Dylan Little, a product of Mary G. Montgomery (Ala.) High School, single.
Kyle Fultz picked up the win. The right-hander from Covington, Tenn., went five innings and allowed two earned runs on two hits. He fanned four batters and walked three.
EAST MS 7, EAST CENTRAL 1
The Diamond Warrior offense struggled in game two of the playoff series and managed just two hits – a double by Hunter Thrower of Southeast Lauderdale and a single from Harmon.
Lane Fazende of Pearl River Central scored the lone run and John Morgan Berry of Madison Central was credited with the RBI.
Nick Wilson took the loss. He lasted 4 2/3 innings and allowed three earned runs on five hits. The southpaw fanned three batters and walked three. Wilson is a product of Terry High School.
EAST CENTRAL 12, EAST MS 3
East Central’s offense exploded for six runs in the fifth inning en route to a 12-3 thumping and the series title over the longtime rival Lions.
Berry’s three-run homer highlighted the scoring onslaught. Berry added a single to his productive outing at the plate.
Harmon contributed two singles and two RBIs, and McCullough slapped three singles and also knocked in a run.
Other hitters were Little, single and two RBIs; Ryan Ward of Madison Ridgeland Academy and Caleb Woods of Leake Central, RBI singles each; and Cojuante McMillian of Hamilton, two singles. Thrower and Fazende were each credited with an RBI.
Runs were scored by Berry (2), Thrower (2), Ben Cooley of South Jones, Little, Jake Busk of Brookwood (Ala.) High School, Harmon, McCullough, Ward, Woods and McMillian.
Ty Hendrix picked the win for EC, which improved to 23-25. He went 6 2/3 innings and allowed three earned runs on 11 hits. He also fanned a batter.
EMCC completed season action at 32-13.
East Central’s baseball program is led by head coach Neal Holliman and assistants Scott DeLoach and Ronald Sims.