|EMCC forces decisive third game in baseball playoffs; Lions fall to No. 14 JCJC in rubber match|
ELLISVILLE – The visiting Lions of East Mississippi Community College parlayed a complete-game pitching effort with a clutch two-run home run into a 3-2 victory over 14th-ranked Jones County to force a third and deciding game Saturday afternoon in MACJC baseball playoff action held at JCJC’s Community Bank Park. However, the home-standing Bobcats bounced back in the decisive nightcap with a 10-4 triumph over EMCC to advance to next week’s MACJC State Baseball Tournament.
In Saturday’s opening contest, EMCC rallied behind starting pitcher Kameron Heiser to shake off the effects of Friday’s opening-game 13-0 setback to the two-time defending MACJC South Division champion Bobcats of Jones County. Just six weeks removed from having an appendectomy, Heiser, a sophomore right-hander, did not allow a JCJC runner to get into scoring position while holding the Bobcats scoreless through the first seven innings. Though giving up solo tallies in each of the final two innings, the former West Lauderdale standout limited Jones County to just five hits, with three strikeouts and three walks, to even his season record at 3-3 with the complete-game victory.
Offensively, the fourth-seeded Lions went up 1-0 in the third when Tyler Aldridge singled home Aaron Brady, who reached on a hit and then stole second base. Two innings later, Mitch Bohon smacked his team-leading seventh home run of the season – a two-out, two-run blast to left field off JCJC starting pitcher Vito Perna – to put the visitors on top 3-0 after five innings.
The Bobcats made things interesting late in the contest by first getting on the scoreboard with an unearned run in the eighth inning. In the final frame, JCJC’s Ladd Rhodes led off the inning with an infield hit. After stealing second and moving to third on a wild pitch, Rhodes scored on Darion Hamilton’s sacrifice fly to left field to cut the deficit to 3-2. Following a walk to Nick Ray, a two-out single by Chase Headrick put runners on first and second. However, Heiser’s 105th pitch of the contest caught Bobcat catcher Ryan Roberts looking with the count full to seal the victory and force a decisive third game.
Pitching in tough luck for the Bobcats, Perna was saddled with his first loss in nine decisions on the season. JCJC’s freshman right-hander struck out nine and walked four, while allowing only five hits, in 7.1 innings of work.
In the nightcap, the Bobcats reached EMCC starting pitcher Lance Portera for four quick runs in the opening frame to grab their first lead of the afternoon. With reliever Will Edwards holding Jones County scoreless through the second, third and fourth innings, the Lions got on the scoreboard with a solo run in the third on Aldridge’s two-out RBI single to the opposite field. Aided by a JCJC throwing error, EMCC tacked on two more runs in the fifth, including a run-producing infield hit by Bohon, to trim the margin to 4-3.
The momentum quickly turned back around in favor of the home team in the bottom of the fifth when Edwards ran into control problems. After retiring the first two batters, the Kosciusko product hit Ray with a pitch, gave up an infield hit to Hamilton and surrendered back-to-back walks before being lifted. Reliever Justin Pritchett’s first delivery to Chad Guice was a wild pitch that scored Hamilton. Guice then delivered a clutch two-run double to right-center field to stretch the JCJC lead to 8-3.
The Bobcats, now 35-14 on the season, added two more insurance runs in the sixth, while EMCC scored one last time in the seventh to provide the final margin. With the series victory over the Lions, Jones County will move on to host next week’s (May 12-14) four-team, double-elimination MACJC State Baseball Tournament at Community Bank Park in Ellisville.
With their first postseason baseball playoff appearance since 2004, first-year head coach Chris Rose’s EMCC Lions finished the 2011 campaign with an improved 17-29 overall record and 14-10 MACJC North Division mark following a 1-18 start to the season. The 14 league victories marked the most division wins by an EMCC ballclub since the 1998 season.
|Last Updated ( Sunday, 08 May 2011 )|
|< Prev||Next >|