Warriors edge Lions
SAFE AND SOUND n East Mississippi Community College's Brandon Barrett slides safely into third base under the tag of East Central's Justin Reed Thursday night in the Judges Cup in Decatur. Photo by Paula Merritt/The Meridian Star
By Marty Stamper/The Meridian Star
April 6, 2001
DECATUR A waterlogged field at East Central Community College hardly seemed like the proper backdrop for a good defensive baseball game Thursday night, but that was exactly the case as the homestanding Warriors took a 7-6 win over East Mississippi Community College in the second-annual Judges Cup game.
Each team committed only one error in the nine-inning contest.
East Central turned in at least five sparkling defensive plays, while East Mississippi had two including a rare triple play in the bottom of the first inning.
East Central's Hal Thompson lined out to second baseman Ashley Chism, who threw to first base to double up Kent Chamblee. Lion first baseman Josh Buckley then fired to shortstop Tyler Lowros to retire Lewis Bradford to complete the triple play.
The Warriors took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning as Turk Stovall singled and scored on a throwing error by Lowros.
Warrior third baseman Justin Reed made a tough running catch in foul territory and Stovall had a nice play at shortstop to retire Lowros in the second frame.
The Lions tied the game on a sacrifice fly from Jaron Andrews in the top of the third and went up 3-1 in the fourth on RBI-singles from Lowros and Brandon Barrett.
The Warriors used four walks and a grand slam from Bradford to reclaim the lead in the bottom of the fourth. Three consecutive walks by Steve Oglesby loaded the bases and a sacrifice fly from Dee Hornesburger pulled ECCC to within 3-2.
Johnathan Allgood (0-1) walked Reed to reload the bases and Bradford followed with a towering grand slam to left field to put the Warriors up 6-3.
The Lions began chipping away and eventually drew even.
Chris Ball singled and scored on a wild pitch for EMCC in the top of the fifth.
The Lions tied the game on RBI-singles by Andrews and Josh Perry in the seventh. Only two fine defensive plays by ECCC first baseman Monte Migliacio and Warrior reliever Chris Comans (2-1) kept the damage from being greater.
The Warriors got the eventual winning run in the bottom of the seventh. Chamblee reached on a fielder's choice and scored on a bases-loaded fielder's choice by Stovall.
Chamblee turned in a defensive gem with a sliding catch of a fly ball by Buckley to left-center to start the eighth inning.
The Lions threatened to pull even in the top of the ninth as they loaded the bases after the first two batters were retired.
Corey Blackwell then got Buckley to ground out to Hornesburger at second base to end the game.
Bradford, who entered the game batting .175, led ECCC at the plate with a 2-for-2 night that also saw him hit by a pair of pitches in addition to receiving a walk. The Warriors had only six hits, but received nine walks.
Comans tossed 3 1/3 innings of relief to get the win, while Blackwell pitched the ninth to get his second save.
EMCC had seven hits, all of which were singles.
The Warriors, 12-15, will host Jones in a South Division doubleheader at 1 p.m. Saturday, while the Lions, 6-20, will host Northeast Mississippi in a North Division twinbill Saturday at 2 p.m.
Marty Stamper is a sports writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.