Meridian Star


March 19, 2014

Jones County JC earns doubleheader sweep over East Central CC

DECATUR —  The Jones County Junior College baseball team proved why it’s currently the top-ranked team in the latest NJCAA poll.

On Tuesday, the Bobcats swept a doubleheader over MACJC South division foe East Central Community College, 4-0 and 5-1, at Clark/Gay Memorial Field.

JCJC (23-1, 4-0) received dominating pitching performances from Lane Ratliff in Game 1 and Daniel Goff in the second game. The two pitchers combined to toss 12 scoreless innings, striking out 16 batters and allowed just seven hits.

“It’s great anytime you got guys on the bump that can hold the runs down,” Jones County coach Christian Ostrander said. “If you get those kind of quality starts out of your pitchers, you’re going to have the chance to win.”

Despite emerging victorious in Game 1, Ostrander was not pleased with his team’s overall performance.

“4-0 game, some people would think that was good, but we didn’t play a good ball game.” Ostrander said. “I didn’t think that we played great defense, we didn’t hit the ball like we are capable of... I just thought we could have competed a little bit better.”

In the first game, the visiting Bobcats opened the scoring in the third with two runs. Steven Stiglets began the frame with a sharp single to center. Following a sacrifice bunt and a hit batsman, Trent Giambrone singled to left-center to load the bases. Stiglets came home on a Tyler Graves RBI groundout and Stark later scored on an ECCC fielding error.

East Central (9-13, 3-3) posted their best scoring threat in the sixth. Trailing 2-0, Ben Cooley pinch hit and slapped a single to right to begin the frame. Following a sacrifice and a groundout, the next two Warriors batters base safely. With the bases loaded, Ratliff (2-0) managed to induce a weak ground ball to escape unscathed.

“You have to have a clear mind,” Ratliff said. “You can’t let anything get to you. That’s what coach (Ostrander) preaches to us. To stay in your zone and stay the same throughout the whole game.”

Jones County added two insurance runs in the seventh on Josh Pankratz’s sharp single to center with the bases loaded.

In Game 2, Ostrander acknowledged that his squad performed much better.

“It took us a little while to scratch a few runs,” Ostrander said. “We finally did, and then late being able to put up a few (runs) obviously helps.”

In the fourth, Tyler Graves smacked his first home run of the year over the left-field wall to JCJC a 1-0 advantage.

“It was a fastball that was left up,” Graves said. “I just got a hold of it and was able to knock it out.”

The Bobcats tacked on three more runs in the fifth, capped by Chris Morgan’s double to right that scored Carter Polles, but Stiglets was thrown out at the plate on the relay throw by ECCC first baseman Chris Daigle.

The home-standing Warriors managed to put runners in scoring position on three separate occasions, but Goff (2-0) battled back on each instance to hold ECCC at bay.

“My defense played great for me,” Goff said. “Coach (Ostrander) called a great game. I was able to throw strikes and am just happy to get a couple wins as a team.”

Jones County scored another run in top of the seventh, and the Warriors plated their only run of the doubleheader in the bottom of the frame.

With two-outs and two men on base, Daigle smacked a single to center that scored Ryan Ward.

East Central coach Neal Holliman declined to be interviewed following the games.   

Said Ostrander: “For us to be able to find a win by taking care of things on the mound, and keeping the (opposition’s) score down was important. You have to be able to do those things.”  

Both teams return to the diamond Saturday with Jones County facing Southwest Mississippi Community College, while ECCC squares off against Pearl River Community College.

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