EMCC Lions miss chance to grab two wins

By By Jeff Byrd / staff writer
March 29, 2002
SCOOBA East Mississippi picked up its first Mississippi Junior College North Division win in baseball on Thursday. Unfortunately for the Lions, it should have been two.
A missed bunt on a squeeze play left stranded what may have been the winning run for the Lions in their second game with Mississippi Delta. Instead of a 7-4 lead, East had to settle for a 6-4 lead.
MDCC then scored twice in the sixth to tie it at 6-6. EMCC had a chance to retake the lead in the sixth but base-running mistakes thwarted the opportunity. The visiting Trojans then plated three runs in the eighth to pull out a 9-7 division win. The Lions did win game one, 8-6.
The win keeps Delta near the top of the North Division with a 6-2 league mark. EMCC is now 1-7 in division play and 8-19 overall.
"We should've won two," said Lions head coach Bill Baldner. "We had a chance to get a squeeze bunt down and didn't do it.
"Then in the sixth we have a football player running and he made a mistake. We basically ran ourselves out of a run. What's tough is that Matt Minchew does a great job getting us out of a jam in the seventh. That was also Ryan Clay's first start of the year and he deserved the victory," Baldner said.
Trojan caoch Terry Thompson was glad to get the split.
"Especially the way the second game was progressing. We didn't play well in the first game, but overall it was two pretty good games." he said.
Mississippi Delta 9
East Mississippi 7 (8)
The Lions trailed 4-3 in the fifth inning when Wade Whitaker cleared the bases with a triple into the right-field alley. Whitaker had a chance to make it a 7-4 lead but was hung up off third when the squeeze failed to go down.
Delta bounced back in the sixth getting a leadoff single from John Morgan and a double by Cody Johnson. Both runners would later scored as the Lions traded outs for a runs, tying the game at 6-6.
In the bottom half of the inning, the Lions got a lead-off walk. Matt Vaughn came in to run. Josh Snider then sent a dying shot into center. Vaughn went to second, then thinking the ball was caught, went back to first after several Delta players shouted "back." Vaughn was tagged out at first.
Snider then got caught in a rundown following a pitch to the next East batter. The bad thing there was Kent Lewis got a hit right after the play. The Lions could have bases-loaded and not out. Instead the tied game went to the seventh.
Delta appeared primed to take the lead loading the bases with just one out after a hit and two walks, the last intentionally. Minchew, however, came back striking the next two Trojans to stop the threat.
An error opened the door for MDCC in the eighth. Johnny Phillips then doubled in the goahead run to make it 7-6. Brett Cerda followed with a single and Keith Fitzgerald had a sac-fly to left to put two more runs on and give the Trojans a 9-6 lead.
Whitaker got his third hit of the game leading off the East eighth with a bunt single. He then scored on a Drew Powell's pinch-hit single that cut the deficit to 9-7.
Trojan reliever retired the next three batters to close out the game and pick up the win. He moves to 2-3 on the year and Delta is now 11-9 overall.
Whitaker went 3-for-4 scored two runs and drove in three. Todd Harcrow had a double and a triple with a RBI. Snider also had two hits.
East Mississippi 8
Mississippi Delta 6
East grabbed a 3-0 lead in the second inning after a two-run single by Kent Lewis.
Delta came back with four runs off struggling East starter Donte Hill. Andrew Lilly came in and did a fine job allowing just two more runs over the next 4 2/3 innings.
"Andrew Lilly came in and threw strikes. We battled and made some plays. We got some clutch hits and then expanded the lead with a big hit later," Baldner said.
East retook the lead when Chad Carlson cleared the bases with a three-run double to make it 7-4.
A single by Josh Perry in the fifth kept the lead at three at 8-5. The Trojans got a run in the seventh but no more to fall 8-6.
Lilly scattered four hits over his time. He struck out four. Cerda took the loss for MDCC.
East will return to action today when Coahoma visits for a north double-header.

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