Hinds beats Northwest, advances to title game

Published 1:00 am Saturday, May 9, 2015

All season long, even as they eyed a return trip to the NJCAA World Series, the Hinds Community College Eagles insisted a state championship was their main priority.

They’re one win away from getting it and moving on to bigger and better things.

Pitchers Houston Case, Derek Martin and Austin Sanders combined to allow four hits and one run, and Hinds scored six runs in the second inning to beat Northwest Mississippi 6-1 in a winners’ bracket game at the MACJC state tournament Friday in Raymond.

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Hinds (40-5), which had already clinched a berth in next week’s Region XXIII tournament in Eunice, La., advanced to face Northwest Mississippi again in the MACJC championship game today at 2 p.m. at Joe G. Moss Field.

Hinds has won all three meetings with Northwest this season. In addition to Friday’s state tournament victory, it swept a doubleheader April 19 in Jackson.

Northwest eliminated East Mississippi 10-5 in a losers’ bracket game later Friday night.

In Friday’s first game, East Mississippi beat Meridian Community College 12-2 in an elimination game.

Northwest has to beat Hinds twice to win the state title. If Northwest wins the afternoon game, the teams will play again at 6 p.m.

Hinds had little trouble with Northwest in the first go-round of the tournament.

The Eagles batted around while scoring six runs in the top of the second inning to take a 6-0 lead. Tyler Cox, Matt Jones, Marshall Boggs and Jonathan Washam all had RBI singles. Chase Lunceford doubled to lead off the inning and scored a run.

Jones, Jordan Washam and Quade Smith each finished with two hits for Hinds. Jones and Smith also scored one run apiece.

Hinds didn’t do much at the plate after its big inning, but the pitching staff made sure it didn’t need to.

Case and Martin threw four innings apiece, and the closer Sanders worked the ninth. They combined to allowed four hits and five walks, and struck out six.

Northwest’s only run came in the fifth inning, when Stephen Sexton led off with a double and scored on a wild pitch.

Sexton had three of Northwest’s four hits and scored its only run.

Hinds clinched a spot in the Region XXIII tournament by beating Meridian in its state tournament opener on Friday night. Northwest has also clinched a spot.

Hinds, which was the state runner-up last season and also finished as the national runner-up at the Division II World Series, is going for its first state championship since 2010.

Hinds is ranked No. 1 in the nation in the latest NJCAA Division II baseball poll, while Northwest Mississippi (32-14) is ranked 20th.