A one-hit shutout by right-hander Severino Signa and clutch hitting by Tim Anderson and Chase Domino helped lead East Central Community College to a 4-0 victory over Northwest Mississippi Community College and the 2013 MACJC State Championship Sunday, May 12 at Pearl River Community College in Poplarville, host for this year’s competition.
The Diamond Warriors, who improved to 31-16 following their perfect record in the state tourney, are the top seed in the 2013 Region 23 Tournament scheduled May 16-19, also on the Poplarville campus. EC battles Pearl River at 7 p.m. followed by the Northwest/LSU-Eunice matchup at 4 p.m. in first-round action of the double-elimination event.
The Mother’s Day victory represents the second state title for head coach Neal Holliman, who led the Diamond Warriors to the 2007 championship in his first year at the helm. When asked which state title is “sweeter,” Holliman replied, “the next one!”
Holliman was obviously pleased with his team’s effort Sunday, which followed a 7-6, 10-inning victory over host Pearl River Saturday night and a 19-1 thumping of Northeast in first-round competition Thursday, May 9. The double-elimination event was hampered by the cancellation of Friday’s matchups due to inclement weather. Finals were originally scheduled for Saturday, May 11.
“Just a phenomenal effort,” said Holliman of his team’s performance in capturing the state title. “We talked about defense early in the year and what it could do for us. We had an outstanding pitching performance from Sevy Signa….we could not have asked for more! And for us to play defense like we played behind him is just another phenomenal effort! I’m very proud of them!”
Signa, a sophomore right-hander from Stoneville and product of Deer Creek High School, was in complete command of the Northwest offense, which generated 16 runs the night before in a 16-4 blowout of Pearl River in an elimination game.
“It was amazing,” said Signa, whose bid for a no-hitter was nixed in the eighth inning with a one-out single by Walt McCullough. “It was probably the best pitching performance I have ever had.”
Signa, who fanned five Ranger batters in the nine-inning contest, gave credit for his success to an effective fast ball and advice from pitching coach Justin Brewer.
“The pitching mound is higher here which is a big advantage, especially for the fastball,” said Signa. He noted Coach Brewer told him to “take it one out at a time….and that’s what I tried to do as I faced each batter.”
Signa got all the run support he needed in the third inning following RBI singles from Anderson and Domino, scoring Ryan Shotts of Louisville and Kalik May of Tuscaloosa County.
Domino, a product of Fairhope (Ala.) High School, extended EC’s lead to 3-0 with his solo homer in the sixth inning.
Anderson’s RBI single in the seventh frame scored Shots for the final run. The Hillcrest (Ala.) High School product also singled in the first inning and finished 3-for-4 at the plate.
Newton County High School product Xzavier Franklin contributed two singles.
EC 7, Pearl River 6
A wild throw to the plate from Pearl River pitcher Ryan Deemes scored pinch runner and Newton County High School product Zach May from third base in the bottom of the tenth inning and provided East Central Community College with a thrilling 7-6 win Saturday, May 11.
The Diamond Warriors sent the scheduled nine-inning battle into extra innings thanks to a three-run seventh inning that knotted the score at 6-6. During the frame, Shotts belted a two-run RBI double scoring John Morgan Berry of Madison Central and Maxwell Harmon of Enterprise. Shotts scored following Anderson’s RBI single.
EC jumped out to a 3-0, first-inning lead following Anderson’s RBI double scoring Shotts, and Domino’s two-run homer that also scored Anderson.
Domino also singled and was among several players with multiple hits. Shotts finished with two doubles; Anderson, double and single; and Berry and Harmon had two singles each. Kalik May contributed a single.
Domino, Shotts and Anderson also collected two RBIs each.
Krisjon Wilkerson and Forrest Dunigan each belted homers and Braxton Lee slapped four singles to lead the Wildcats, who scored three runs in the second inning, two in the sixth and one in the seventh.
Right-hander Jordan Mixon picked up the win in relief. Mixon hurled two scoreless innings and allowed one hit. He also walked a batter. Mixon is a product of East Webster High School.
Starter Caleb McKee went 5 2/3 innings and allowed four earned runs on five hits. The southpaw from Neshoba Central fanned five batters and walked three.
Southpaw Brady McBride of Northeast Jones and right-hander Mitchell Wooten of Edinburg hurled an inning each in relief. McBride fanned a batter and gave up two hits. Wooten fanned a batter and walked one.
Right-hander Fernando Gonzalez from Puerto Rico made a brief appearance on the mound and allowed one hit.