Eagles win Region 23 opener

Published 12:13 am Saturday, May 22, 2010

JACKSON — With the Smith-Wills Stadium field turf making a hot day that much hotter, Hinds Community College didn’t need to play another nine-inning game Friday in the National Junior College Athletic Association’s Region 23 Tournament.

Trailing 3-2 in the bottom of the seventh inning, the Eagles rallied with four runs and went on to post a 7-3 win over Pearl River in the tournament’s second game, which was postponed because of a rainout at the Hinds campus Thursday night.

Hinds coach Sam Temple said getting a win in the opening game was critical.

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“We definitely did not want to play two in this heat. We had to do everything we could to stay out of the loser’s bracket,” Temple said.

Instead Pearl River (26-28) got the misfortune of having to play another game Friday on the sauna-like Smith-Wills turf against third-ranked LSU-Eunice, which was coming off an upset loss on Thursday to East Central.

Hinds (32-19) gets a date with East Central today at 2 p.m. back at Joe G. Moss Field in Raymond. The loser of that game will face Friday’s late-game survivor between LSU-Eunice and Pearl River at 5:30 today. The tournament will conclude Sunday with the champion advancing to the NJCAA’s Division II World Series in Enid, Okla.


Region 23 tournament


at Joe G. Moss Field

Hinds vs. East Central, 2 p.m.

Hinds-E.C winner vs. LSU-Eunice-Pearl River winner, 5:30 p.m.


Hinds can thank the efforts of pitcher Ryan Nance and former Vicksburg standout Tyler Wells for getting a clutch win against Pearl River.

Wells had an RBI single in the second, doubled and scored in the fourth, started the decisive four-run seventh with a walk and then added a sacrifice bunt.

“I just seemed to have found my stroke. I’m a lot more patient,” said Wells, who came back to the Eagles after sitting out last year out of school.

“I guess it was all about execution for us,” he added.

Wells’ walk in the seventh started the Eagle comeback from a 3-2 deficit. Pearl River starter Buck Bernard had kept the Eagles off-balance for most of the game. But he couldn’t get Wells out. The walk was Wells’ third straight time to reach base.

Nance got Wells over to second on a sacrifce bunt. Bernard was pulled for reliever Sean Kelly, who then walked former LSU player Manny Estrada.

Nick Scheenberger tied the game with a single to left to plate Wells. Former Porters Chapel star Michael Busby hit into a force play at third, but the Wildcats were unable to double him off.

Zach Polzin then ripped a single to right center to score Schneeberger. Busby scored when a relay throw from home was bobbled at third base to make it 5-3. Justin Brodnax followed with a double and Polzin scored when a relay throw failed to get to home plate.

HInds got four runs off three hits and two errors to take a commanding 6-3 lead.

That was enough for Nance, who finished a complete game by retiring the last six Wildcats in a row.

“It could’ve been 140 degrees out here. I was ready to go,” said Nance. He struck out six and scattered eight hits.

All three of the Wildcat runs came from a pair of 400-foot home runs. Matthew Magee hit a ball some 420 feet over both walls in right center to stake Pearl River to a 2-0 lead.