Eagles drop one to MDCC
ON ALERT Mississippi Delta's Dhane Burton is out as 2nd on an attempted steal as MCC's Lance Dawkins looks for the call. Photo by Paula Merritt/The Meridian Star
By Austin Bishop / EMG Regional Sports Director
May 10, 2002
Leaving men on base will usually come back to bite you.
The Eagles of Meridian Community College got another tough lesson in that in the first round of the 17th-annual Region 23 Division I Baseball Tournament on Thursday, as they stranded eight runners in the first four innings in a 6-2 11-inning loss to Mississippi Delta Community College.
MDCC's Keith Fitzgerald didn't have any trouble with men in scoring position, belting a bases-loaded, game-ending grand slam in the bottom of the 11th inning with just one out.
Meridian, now 24-27 on the season, faces elimination today when the Eagles take on Delgado, winner of Thursday's second game, at 4 p.m. MCC is making its 13th consecutive appearance in the double-elimination tournament and has never gone two-and-out.
Meridian took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first when Nate Sanders was hit by a pitch and later scored on a sacrifice fly by Jake Bell.
The Trojans, now 24-16, scored two unearned runs in the bottom of the fifth. John Morgan opened the inning for MDCC by reaching on an error by the MCC second baseman. A double by Fitzgerald moved him to third. The two runs scored on a fielder's choice and a squeeze bunt.
MCC tied the game in the top of the seventh on a one-out solo shot to right-center by Adam Smith, his 11th of the year. Smith had three of MCC's six hits.
The Trojans threatened to score the go-ahead run in the bottom of the eighth when Brett Cerda smashed a one-out liner up the middle with runners on first and second. But MCC shortstop Lance Dawkins picked the ball out of the air and then stepped on second for the double play.
Dawkins came up big for the Eagles in the bottom of the ninth as well.
With runners on first and second and one out, Michael Goodson came out of the bullpen to replace starter Todd Doolittle, who pitched an outstanding game.
He coaxed pinch hitter Cody Johnson to hit a ground ball up the middle, which Dawkins gloved. He then stepped on second and fired the ball to first for the double play.
But the 11th inning was a different story.
Casey Smith led off the inning with a single for the Trojans. After a strike out, Ortiz singled to right on a hit-and-run, sending Smith to third.
After falling behind the next hitter on two straight balls, the Eagles opted to intentionally walk him to load the bases.
Fitzgerald then hammered the first pitch over the left-field fence for the game-ending homer.
Doolittle struck out six and walked just two over 8.1 innings of work for the Eagles.
Lance Songy picked up the win in relief of Rivera, who struck out 13 and walked six.
Mississippi Delta takes on the Jones-East Mississippi winner at 7 p.m. today in the six-team double-elimination tournament.