from staff reports
The Meridian Star
SCOOBA – Smokey Ethridge’s complete-game five-hitter lifted East Mississippi Community College to a 2-1, eight-inning victory in game one of a doubleheader split with visiting Northwest Mississippi Community College Friday evening at EMCC’s Gerald Poole Field. The Rangers came back to claim the nightcap on Tanner Densford’s complete-game six-hitter.
After four scoreless innings to begin the opener, the visitors claimed the early lead on a two-out double by James Lear in the fifth frame. The Lions answered an inning later by tying the game on successive singles by Austin Braddock, LeDarious Clark and Nick Brooks to begin the bottom of the sixth. EMCC then had an opportunity to plate the go-ahead run with two runners in scoring position, but Clark was thrown out attempting to steal home with two outs.
The Lions also had a chance to win the game in the bottom of the seventh after loading the bases with one out. However, Northwest starter Cody Waddell wiggled out of trouble by getting Braddock to foul out to third and fanning Clark.
After Ethridge retired the side in order in the top of the eighth, Northwest reliever Jim Tom Copeland hit Brooks with a pitch to start the home half of the extra inning. Brooks, the reigning NJCAA Division II Pitcher of the Week for last week’s no-hitter against Mississippi Delta, was then wild pitched to second and bunted over to third base by Drew Standland. With Josh Tentoni at the plate, Copeland unleashed another wild pitch to send Brooks scampering home with the winning run.
Ethridge, a sophomore right-hander out of West Lauderdale High School, struck out six and walked just one in raising his record to 3-1 on the year and 9-3 for his two-year EMCC career.
Clark, of Southeast Lauderdale High School, and Braddock, from Columbus’ Heritage Academy, both had two hits to lead EMCC’s seven-hit team effort in the opener.
In the nightcap, the Rangers reached Brooks (1-4) for three runs on four hits in the first inning and two unearned runs in the second to jump out to an early 5-0 lead. EMCC got one of those runs back in the bottom of the second on Clark’s first collegiate home run.
Northwest pushed the margin back to five runs in the fifth on Kramer Hollenbach’s sacrifice fly, which followed lead-off singles by Dylan Castoria and Jordan Barnes.
Now 13-17 overall and 3-7 within the division, head coach Chris Rose’s EMCC Lions continue their current four-date homestand by playing host to Coahoma Community College on Wednesday (April 3) in a 2 p.m. doubleheader on the Scooba campus.